Cancer Program Annual Report 2014

FEATURE: Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Oropharynx

Brad Morris, M.D., Otolarnygologist

Overall, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma rates have been slowly declining, but human papilloma virus (HPV) related oropharyngeal cancer has been on the rise. The American Cancer Society estimates that over 45,000 people will be diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer in 2015. Currently, it is the 8th most common cancer in men.

What is the Oropharynx?

The oropharynx consists of the tonsils, the soft palate, the posterior pharyngeal wall, and base of tongue. Most of this area is visible, but often parts of the tonsils and a large portion of the base of tongue cannot be seen by directly looking into the mouth. A more detailed head and neck exam with a mirror or flexible scope is required to exam these areas. When the linings of the mouth and throat become damaged at the DNA level, squamous cell carcinoma can develop leading to uncontrolled growth and spread.

Symptoms of Oropharyngeal Cancer

The most common signs or symptoms include: persistent sore throat, bad breath, red or white patches in the back of the throat, a feeling of something stuck in the throat, neck mass, numbness or weakness of tongue, coughing up blood, hoarseness, changes in speech, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, difficulty opening the mouth, and unexplained one-sided ear pain.

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Click circles below to see 2014 statistics on Head and Neck Cancer.


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On-Line Patient Portal

In March 2014, The Medical Center patient portal became live, allowing cancer patients the ability to access their patient-specific healthcare records. The patient portal is an online tool that allows patients to take a more active role in managing their health and wellness.

Cancer Support Group

The Medical Center’s Cancer Support Group flourished during 2014-2015. The Cancer Support Group was held on the 4th Tuesday of each month in the lobby of The Medical Center’s Cancer Treatment Center.

Clinical Trials

In an effort to capture all patients who are participating in clinical trials at or outside of our institution, a question was added to the admission assessment packet within our EMR Meditech.


Physician Reviewer:
Vidya Seshadri, M.D.,
Oncology & Hematology

2014 Physician Study

This study was to look at the percentage of Herceptin positive Breast Cancer patients at MCBG in comparison to the National guideline of 15%.

Rationale: Patients with breast cancer that had Herceptin positive results.

Study Period: 2010 - 2013 (MCBG Registry data)

Population: Breast cancer patients at MCBG 2010 – 2013.

Analysis Method: Cancer Patient Data Management System and hospital medical records.

Summary: Total of 56 breast cancer patients are Herceptin positive out of 610 patients. This indicates 9% are Herceptin positive.

  • 2010 – 2 HER2 positive out of 138 patients
  • 2011 – 11 HER2 positive out of 138 patients
  • 2012 – 16 HER2 positive out of 157 patients
  • 2013 – 27 HER2 positive out of 177 patients
  • Total - 56 HER2 positive out of 610 patients

Recommendation: Based upon this study our data shows that 9% of our patients are Herceptin positive, which is very close to the national guidelines of 15%. There are no recommendations at this time since the number of MCBG patients that are Herceptin positive are in close range with the national average.


The Medical Center
Cancer Treatment Center for Southern Kentucky
250 Park Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101

(270) 781-7178 or 1-800-745-1213
Cancer Registry (270) 745-1288

Barren River Regional Cancer Center
103 Trista Lane
Glasgow, KY 42141

(270) 651-2478 or 1-877-573-0050