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For Authors Continuing Education
Vol. 69, No. 9
ISSN: 1488-2159
October 2003


Oral and Dental Management Related to Radiation Therapy
for Head and Neck Cancer


• Pamela J. Hancock, BSc, DMD •
• Joel B. Epstein, DMD, MSD, FRCD(C) •
• Georgia Robins Sadler, BSN, MBA, PhD •

A b s t r a c t

The clinical management of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck causes oral sequelae that can compromise patients' quality of life and necessitate abandonment or reduction of optimal therapeutic regimens, which in turn reduces the odds of long-term survival. Such sequelae can be prevented or at least better managed if dental and medical health care providers work together. It is therefore essential that dentists have an understanding of cancer therapy and a sound working knowledge of the prevention and management options for the oral sequelae of cancer treatment. This paper offers the dental team an overview of the consequences associated with radiotherapy, as well as a systematic overview of preventing or managing acute and chronic conditions before and during radiotherapy. In addition, it reviews considerations for continued treatment needs during the patient's lifetime.


MeSH Key Words: cranial irradiation/adverse effects; osteoradionecrosis/prevention & control; stomatitis/prevention & control; xerostomia/prevention & control
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