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Treatment of early (stage I and II) head and neck cancer: The oropharynx

Carol R Bradford, MD, FACS
Avraham Eisbruch, MD
Francis P Worden, 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


Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas arise in the soft palate, tonsils, base of tongue, pharyngeal wall, and the vallecula, the fold located between the base of tongue and the epiglottis (figure 1) [1].

The treatment of early squamous cell cancers of the oropharynx is reviewed here. The treatment of locally advanced cancers is discussed separately, as is the management of metastatic disease.

(See "Treatment of locoregionally advanced (stage III and IV) head and neck cancer: The oropharynx".)

(See "Treatment of metastatic and recurrent head and neck cancer".)


Oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinomas are relatively uncommon malignancies, with approximately 123,000 cases of oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer diagnosed worldwide each year and about 79,000 deaths [2]. (See "Epidemiology and risk factors for head and neck cancer".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Nov 02, 2016.
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