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Dr. Jessica Frakes on Monitoring Recurrences in HPV-Positive Oropharyngeal Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Jessica Frakes, MD
Published Online:3:26 PM, Wed February 24, 2016

Jessica Frakes, MD, assistant professor of radiation oncology, Department of Radiation Oncology, Moffitt Cancer Center, discusses patients treated with definitive radiation therapy (RT) for HPV-positive oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma (OPSCC) and the detection of recurrences. Frakes says the number of HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer diagnoses year to year is growing, though the number of survivors is proportionate.

According to Frakes, most recurrences and toxicities were found by posttreatment imaging at 3 months and physical examinations during the 6 months after treatment. She said patients experienced a low rate of permanent toxicity. Previous retrospective and prospective studies have shown that while HPV-associated cases of OPSCC are increasing in frequency, treatments result in decreased toxicities and increased survival. 

On the financial end of treatment, Frakes says reducing posttreatment tests without compromising outcomes might reduce patient stress and financial burden.
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