July 1st 2004
The presence of regional nodal metastases represents a significantadverse prognostic factor for patients with squamous cell carcinoma ofthe head and neck. Early-stage head and neck cancers, localized to theprimary site without regional lymph node metastases have excellentcure rates with either surgery or radiation therapy. The presence ofregional metastases results in cure rates that are approximately half ofthose obtainable in early-stage disease. Therefore, due to the significantadverse impact of neck metastases on prognosis, the treatment ofthe neck remains a vital part of the decision-making process in determiningtherapy for head and neck cancer.