Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer
What To Discuss With Your Patients About Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer
Radiation is associated with early and late toxicities, which can have a profound effect on a patient’s quality of life, and chemoradiation may be associated with enhancement of these toxicities (particularly mucositis and xerostomia). Therapy-related toxicities are particularly relevant in the treatment of head and neck cancer because of the close proximity of many important dose-limiting normal tissues. Treatment effects can affect basic functions like chewing, swallowing, and breathing, and the senses (e.g., taste, smell, and hearing), and can significantly alter appearance and voice. Most of the studies in this review were based on the results of patients treated at academic medical centers. However, an informal survey estimates that 30 to 60 percent of all patients with cancer in the United States are treated with IMRT. Whether similar results will be achieved as the technology disseminates to less-experienced settings has not been addressed in the comparative studies available for this review.
Keywords: adverse events | decision making | decisionmaking | experience | head and neck cancer | outcomes | radiotherapy
- Samson DJ, Ratko TA, Rothenberg BM, et al. Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer, Comparative Effectiveness Review No. 20 (Prepared by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association Technology Evaluation Center Evidence-based Practice Center under Contract No. 290-02-0026). Rockville, MD: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; May 2010. AHRQ Publication No. 10-EHC014-EF.
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