Background: The underlying contributors to cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) are poorly characterized. Methods: Patients with HNSCC who underwent definitive or adjuvant (chemo)radiation between 2011 and 2013 were retrospectively reviewed. The 10-year risk estimates for a CVD event were calculated according to the Framingham Risk Score (FRS). Results: One hundred fifteen patients with predominantly stage III/IV HNSCC had a median follow-up of 2 years. At diagnosis, 23% of patients had CVD. The FRS was higher among patients with laryngeal cancer versus other sites (20.5% vs 14.4%). Twenty-four percent of all patients had uncontrolled blood pressure at diagnosis. Among the patients with CVD, 41% were not taking antiplatelet therapy and 30% were not taking statin therapy. Thirty-four percent of patients without CVD had indications for initiating statin therapy. Conclusion: Patients with HNSCC have a high baseline CVD risk and many do not receive optimal preventive care.
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