Management of Radiation Toxicity in Head and Neck Cancers
Siddiqui F, and Movsas B. Management of radiation toxicity in head and neck cancers. Semin Radiat Oncol 2017; 27(4):340-349.
Seminars in radiation oncology
Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3% of all cancers in the United States with 62,000 new cases diagnosed annually. The global incidence is approximately 700,000 new cases a year. There has also been a recent increase in human papilloma virus-related oropharyngeal cancers. External beam radiation therapy (RT) is commonly used as an effective therapy for head and neck (H&N) cancers. This is used as a definitive treatment (alone or in combination with chemotherapy) or as an adjuvant treatment after surgical resection of the tumors. Because of the complex anatomy of the H&N region, several critical structures in and around the area receive radiation treatment. This includes the neural structures (brainstem, spinal cord, and brachial plexus), salivary glands, mucosa, major blood vessels, and swallowing musculature. Careful RT planning is necessary to avoid or mitigate the side effects of treatment. This review discusses some of the major acute and late side effects of RT for H&N cancers and provides evidence-based guidelines for their management. Patient-reported outcomes and quality-of-life implications are also discussed.
Medical Subject Headings
Brachial Plexus; Brain Stem; Evidence-Based Medicine; Head and Neck Neoplasms; Humans; Incidence; Organs at Risk; Oropharyngeal Neoplasms; Radiation Injuries; Radiotherapy, Adjuvant; Spinal Cord; United States