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Dr. Daniel J. Haraf on a Less Toxic Treatment for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

Daniel J. Haraf, MD
Published Online:4:00 PM, Tue February 23, 2016


Daniel J. Haraf, MD, professor of Radiation & Cellular Oncology, medical Director, Radiation Oncology, The University of Chicago Medicine, discusses a more focused approach to radiation therapy in head and neck cancer. Haraf says historically, medical professionals have treated patients with radiation therapy "from their eyebrows to their collarbones." This approach, while effective, has resulted in an abundance of toxicities.

Haraf said a recent study shows that an approach of induction chemotherapy utilized in 100 patients, without any elective nodal radiation, resulted in a positive response for 99 of the 100 patients. Haraf said these results are "practice changing" and could result in confined radiotherapy with less toxicities.

"When treating an advanced stage head and neck cancer, we not only treat the gross disease, but we also treat the microscopic disease. Frequently that involves treating the whole neck from the eyebrows right down to the collar bones. That is very toxic. That has a lot of side effects."
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