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Comparative Effectiveness and Safety of Radiotherapy Treatments for Head and Neck Cancer

Slide: 9 of 36

External-Beam Radiation Therapy for Head and Neck Cancer

The main challenge in using radiation therapy to treat cancer is to attain the highest probability of tumor control or cure with the least amount of morbidity and toxicity to normal surrounding tissues (sometimes referred to as organs at risk). The external-beam radiation therapy modalities used to treat head and neck cancer include two-dimensional radiation therapy, three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy, intensity-modulated radiation therapy, and proton beam therapy. Each of these modalities has been developed as an attempt to improve the conformality of the radiation being delivered. In other words, getting radiation just to the tumor and not to the normal surrounding tissue that could be harmed during treatment.