What is the impact of COVID-19 on head and neck squamous cell carcinoma patients?
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Data sources: It is not made clear in this review the different databases selected or how they conducted their search. The studies used are from 1975-2020. Study selection: The authors have performed a scoping review using 84 studies ranging from 1975-2020. The majority of these are from before the 2019-2020 COVID-19 outbreak period. This is indicative of the lack of evidence on this topic and exemplifies why a scoping review was carried out rather than a systematic review. The studies that were reviewed were predominately cohort and case studies. With regards to previous treatment outcomes, a few systematic reviews were included, but again, the novel nature of this outbreak means that largely, there are only cohort or case studies available for review. Data extraction and synthesis: There are ten authors, with no indication of how many performed the literature review or if a mediator was involved in the final decision making on what papers would be reviewed. Results: Excessive consumption of alcohol, history of tobacco use, an ageing population, and comorbidities such as cardiopulmonary issues are substantial risk factors for episodes of unfavourable respiratory outcomes. The risk of these outcomes is increased by some of the toxic effects of treatments such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Conclusions: The COVID-19 outbreak has a potentially disproportionate impact on the cohort of head and neck cancer patients, and the respiratory effects this has on these patients may increase morbidity and mortality. It is important to include alcohol and smoking cessation, along with good oral hygiene instruction in the care of these patients.