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Patient Throat Exam

Side Side Effects of Chemotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer

Chemotherapy for head and neck cancer is used in conjunction with supportive care for most patients with metastatic or advanced recurrent head and neck cancer. The choice of specific systemic therapy is influenced by the patient’s prior treatment with chemotherapeutic agents and the general approach to preserve the effected organs. Supportive care includes the prevention of infection due to severe bone marrow suppression and the maintenance of adequate nutrition.

Therapeutic options include treatment with a single agent and combination regimens with conventional cytotoxic chemotherapy and/or molecularly targeted agents, combined with optimal supportive care. Chemotherapy is given in cycles, alternating between periods of treatment and rest. Treatment can last several months or even longer.