HealthDay News – Of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), 23% have cardiovascular disease (CVD) at diagnosis, and 24% have uncontrolled blood pressure, according to research published online in Head & Neck.

Christian C. Okoye, MD, from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and colleagues retrospectively reviewed patients with HNSCC who underwent definitive or adjuvant (chemo)radiation between 2011 and 2013. The authors calculated the 10-year risk estimates for a CVD event according to the Framingham Risk Score (FRS).

Patients with mainly stage III/IV HNSCC (n = 115) were followed up for a median of 2 years. The researchers found that 23% of patients had CVD at diagnosis. Patients with laryngeal cancer had higher FRS than those with cancer at other sites (20.5% vs 14.4%). At diagnosis, 24% of all patients had uncontrolled blood pressure. 

Among patients with CVD, 41% and 30% were not taking antiplatelet therapy or statin therapy, respectively. Indications for initiating statin therapy were seen for 34% of patients with CVD.

“Patients with HNSCC have a high baseline CVD risk and many do not receive optimal preventive care,” the authors wrote.

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Okoye CC, Bucher J, Tatsuoka C, et al. Cardiovascular risk and prevention in patients with head and neck cancer treated with radiotherapy [published online December 29, 2016]. Head Neck. doi:10.1002/hed.24646