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The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13643-017-0545-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Head and neck cancer incidence is increasing worldwide. Despite overall improvements in survival, numerous studies suggest worse survival in more disadvantaged populations; however, this literature has not been systematically reviewed. The aim of this review is to investigate whether lower compared to higher socioeconomic status (SES) influences survival in head and neck squamous cell cancer (HNSCC) and explore possible explanations for any relationship found.
A systematic strategy will be used to identify articles, appraise their quality and extract data. Online databases including MEDLINE, Web of Knowledge, ESBCO Host and Scopus will be used to locate observational studies of adults with a primary diagnosis of head and neck cancer in EU15+ countries (15 members of the EU, Australia, Canada, Norway, USA and New Zealand) where the outcomes report associations between SES and survival. This will be augmented by searching for grey literature and through reference lists. Data will be extracted using a standardised form. Study quality will be assessed using the Newcastle Ottawa scale and where possible meta-analysis of the pooled data will be conducted.
This review will quantify the association between SES and survival outcomes for adult head and neck cancer patients in developed countries. The results will help identify gaps in the literature and therefore direct further novel research in the field. Ultimately, this will inform public policy and strategies to reduce the inequalities in HNSCC survival.
Systematic review registration