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Strategies to Overcome Late Complications from Radiotherapy for Childhood Head and Neck Cancers

Michael T. Spiotto, Philip P. Connell

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Clinics of North America, Volume 28, Issue 1, February 2016, Pages 115-126

Key points

  • Radiotherapy is administered with increasing frequency given the increasing rates of pediatric head and neck cancer and improved long-term survival rates.
  • Long-term radiation morbidities include abnormal tooth development and decay, bone and soft tissue hypoplasia, hypopituitarism, and damage to visual and auditory organs.
  • Radiation increases the risk of second malignancies, which are associated with adverse outcomes.
  • Approaches have been developed to reduce the risk of late radiation toxicities, including improvements in the delivery of radiation that more precisely targets tumors and that uses newer technologies, including proton beam therapy and image-guided radiotherapy.

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