Squamous cell carcinomas can develop anywhere in the pharynx, in the oral cavity, along the swallowing duct and in the larynx. The development of cancer in this area is either triggered by HPV viruses or independent of it. The former tumors have a better prognosis and respond particularly well to chemo-radiation.
Surgery with removal of the lymph nodes (so-called neck dissection) and chemo-radiation or radioimmunotherapy are available for therapy.
The decision as to whether primarily an operative procedure or chemo-radiation or radioimmunotherapy is suitable will be discussed in an interdisciplinary manner and a decision will be made together with you. The size and location of the tumor, expected functional limitations (difficulty swallowing, tracheostomy, speech etc.), the general condition and your (biological) age and co-morbidities may have influence on treatment decision.
After the surgery, if there are risk factors such as lymph node metastases, so-called capsule rupture, an incomplete resection, etc.), postoperative radiation (sole radiation) or chemo-radiation may be indicated. We will discuss the specific clinical situation with you and work out a solution that best meets your desire for maximum oncological safety while taking optimal functional results into account.
Primary radiochemotherapy requires several weeks of treatment with daily radiotherapy. It has a different side effect profile with temporary skin reddening, hyperpigmentation, difficulty swallowing, loss of taste. These are normal, so-called acute reactions, which will completely subside after the end of the radiotherapy. The possible chronic late side effects can include dry mouth of varying degrees and sensitivity of the teeth to caries. If there are contraindications to cisplatin, 5-FU or mitomycin C, radioimmunotherapy with cetuximab can be performed instead of chemo-radiation. Prof. Dr. V. Budach has developed one of his focal points through his many years of scientific and clinical and guideline work.
What can you do to support the success of the therapy as much as possible?
- Please bring a shower or sauna towel with you to every radiation session.
- Visit your dentist before starting radiotherapy and have decayed teeth cleaned up.
- If you have planned radiation therapy in the oral cavity or pharynx, a thermoplastic mask will be used to ensure reliable positioning during treatment. The thermoplastic mask will be done before the planning CT appointment. Have a check-up with your dentist before chemoradiation. decayed teeth must be treated before.
- Care for your teeth with a soft toothbrush without injuring the gums.
- Use the mouthwash solutions we recommend as often as you can.
- Check your weight once a week and record it, please.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages and nicotine completely.
- Fluoride your teeth with a fluoride paste once a week.
- Visit your dentist regularly after the therapy and have the status of your teeth checked and a prophylactic tooth cleaning and fluoridization carried out.
- After radiotherapy, wait until 6 months after the end of therapy before applying the final dentures.
- If you have had radiation therapy before, please bring the radiation plans with you. We can advise you all the faster and more precisely at your first appointment as to whether further radiation therapy, to what extent, fractionation and dosage makes sense and is justifiable.
- If you have a pacemaker, please bring your pacemaker passport with you.
- Avoid using powder or alcohol and oil in the irradiation area.