Treatment Option Overview
The risk of lymph node metastases in patients with stage I glottic cancer ranges from 0% to 2%, and for more advanced disease, such as stage II and stage III glottic, the incidence is only 10% and 15%, respectively. Thus, there is no need to treat glottic cancer cervical lymph nodes electively in patients with stage I tumors and small stage II tumors. Consideration should be given to using elective neck radiation for larger or supraglottic tumors.
For patients with cancer of the subglottis, combined modality therapy is generally preferred for the uncommon small lesions (i.e., stage I or stage II); however, radiation therapy alone may be used.
Patients who smoke during radiation therapy appear to have lower response rates and shorter survival durations than those who do not; therefore, patients should be counseled to stop smoking before beginning radiation therapy.
Accumulating evidence has demonstrated a high incidence (i.e., >30%–40%) of hypothyroidism in patients who have received external-beam radiation to the entire thyroid gland or to the pituitary gland. Thyroid-junction testing of patients should be considered prior to therapy and as part of posttreatment follow-up.[14,15]
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