Radiation therapy for head and neck cancer

What is Radiation Therapy for head and neck cancer?

This is a procedure to treat the cancerous cells affecting the tissues of the head and neck by a beam of high-energy radiation. The site of cancer can be in the vocal cords, ton...

How does it help?

Radiation therapy is really helpful for patients with early stage cancers. In advanced stages of cancer, it can be given in combination with chemotherapy. The therapy also helps...

How is it done?

What are the benefits and risks of this procedure?

The therapy effectively kills the cancerous cells. But as any other surgery, it also has a few risks and limitations, which can be minimised with the help of medications.

The advantages of the surgery are:

  • The procedure is painless and is minimally invasive.
  • The procedure is less time-consuming.
  • The therapy shrinks the tumour and often reduces the chances of recurrence.

Common risks and side-effects include pain, difficulty in swallowing, hoarse voice, and change in sense of taste. Common effects of radiation therapy such as skin reaction, bone pain, nausea, weakness, can be experienced by patients. In addition, thickened saliva, mouth sores, earwax, is likely t...

The major limitation of the therapy is the recurrence of the cancerous cells. Sometimes the radiation therapy also damages nearby healthy tissues. The patient is also at risk of tooth decay or tooth damage.

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