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Postoperative radiation therapy in the management of head and neck cancer

Shruti Jolly, MD
Avraham Eisbruch, MD
Francis P Worden, MD
Richard Smith, MD
Section Editors
Bruce E Brockstein, MD
David M Brizel, MD
Marshall R Posner, MD
Marvin P Fried, MD, FACS
Deputy Editor
Michael E Ross, MD


Selected high-risk patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma receive postoperative radiation therapy (RT), with or without concurrent chemotherapy, following primary surgical resection with the aim of improving locoregional control and survival. The rationale for this approach is that RT may eradicate microscopic deposits of cancer cells that would progress and lead to a locoregional recurrence.

The role of postoperative RT for head and neck cancer, usually given with concurrent chemotherapy, will be reviewed here. Other relevant topics include:

(See "General principles of radiation therapy for head and neck cancer".)

(See "Definitive radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: Dose and fractionation considerations".)

(See "Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck: Approaches combining chemotherapy and radiation therapy".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Aug 02, 2017.
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