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Newer radiation treatment easier for some throat cancer patients
Date:11/30/2007

Treating throat cancer with intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) can improve the health-related quality of life of patients compared to conventional radiation therapy (CRT), according to a study in the December 1 issue of the International Journal for Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology.

Oropharyngeal cancer, sometimes referred to as throat cancer, is a cancer that develops in the part of the throat located just behind the mouth, called the oropharynx. This includes cancer in the tonsil and in the back of the tongue. Squamous cell carcinomas, originating from the cells that normally form the lining of the mouth and throat, account for more than 90 percent of oropharyngeal cancers. In recent years, there is a trend for younger people and nonsmokers to develop this cancer.

The focus of the study, conducted by the University of Iowa Department of Radiation Oncology and Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, was to compare the health-related quality of life outcomes of patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer treated with IMRT versus CRT.

It is important for patients to be able to preserve the quality of life they had before they were diagnosed and began treatment for cancer, said Min Yao, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the study and an associate professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Department of Radiation Oncology. This study will be invaluable for patients diagnosed with oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma who are weighing treatment options because now they know that IMRT can offer them with better quality of life.

CRT aims two or three external radiation beams at the tumor. Large amount of adjacent normal organs, including the oral cavity and salivary glands, receive radiation doses as high as the tumor. The salivary glands are totally destroyed by the radiation and some patients suffer from severe mouth drynes
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Contact: Beth Bukata
bethb@astro.org
703-839-7332
American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
Source:Eurekalert

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