European white paper: oropharyngeal dysphagia in head and neck cancer

Laura W.J. Baijens, Margaret Walshe, Leena Maija Aaltonen, Christoph Arens, Reinie Cordier, Patrick Cras, Lise Crevier-Buchman, Chris Curtis, Wojciech Golusinski, Roganie Govender, Jesper Grau Eriksen, Kevin Hansen, Kate Heathcote, Markus M. Hess, Sefik Hosal, Jens Peter Klussmann, C. René Leemans, Denise MacCarthy, Beatrice Manduchi, Jean Paul MarieReza Nouraei, Claire Parkes, Christina Pflug, Walmari Pilz, Julie Regan, Nathalie Rommel, Antonio Schindler, Annemie M.W.J. Schols, Renee Speyer, Giovanni Succo, Irene Wessel, Anna C.H. Willemsen, Taner Yilmaz, Pere Clavé

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Purpose: To develop a European White Paper document on oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) in head and neck cancer (HNC). There are wide variations in the management of OD associated with HNC across Europe. Methods: Experts in the management of specific aspects of OD in HNC across Europe were delegated by their professional medical and multidisciplinary societies to contribute to this document. Evidence is based on systematic reviews, consensus-based position statements, and expert opinion. Results: Twenty-four sections on HNC-specific OD topics. Conclusion: This European White Paper summarizes current best practice on management of OD in HNC, providing recommendations to support patients and health professionals. The body of literature and its level of evidence on diagnostics and treatment for OD in HNC remain poor. This is in the context of an expected increase in the prevalence of OD due to HNC in the near future. Contributing factors to increased prevalence include aging of our European population (including HNC patients) and an increase in human papillomavirus (HPV) related cancer, despite the introduction of HPV vaccination in various countries. We recommend timely implementation of OD screening in HNC patients while emphasizing the need for robust scientific research on the treatment of OD in HNC. Meanwhile, its management remains a challenge for European professional associations and policymakers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)577-616
Number of pages40
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Deglutition
  • Dysphagia
  • Head and neck cancer
  • Swallowing
  • White paper

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