Combined-Modality Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer
December 01, 1997
In the past, head and neck cancers were felt to be primarily a locoregional control challenge. Distant metastases were not thought to occur frequently. However, the popularity of combined-modality programs emphasizing regional treatment with surgery and radiation in the 1960s enhanced the ability to control the disease at the primary site and within the regional cervical lymphatics. Nevertheless, survival was not improved because treatment failure at distant sites occurred frequently. Apparently, prior treatment programs that did not provide locoregional control masked the ability of this disease to spread to distant sites. Patients died of uncontrolled locoregional disease before they could experience distant metastases.