Locally advanced Squamous cell carcinoma of head and neck

Locally Advanced Squamous Cell Carcinoma of Head and Neck

Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is a form of cancer that can develop from the squamous cells, the thin, flat cells that cover the surface of the mouth, tongue, larynx, esophagus, and lungs. Some SCCs spread, or metastasize, to other parts of the body, while some stay locally advanced. Locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) is one type of SCC that does not spread to other regions of the body.

Locally advanced SCCHN can be particularly difficult to treat because of issues with how close it is to the vital structures that are involved with breathing, speaking, and eating. They can also be more aggressive and difficult to cure with standard treatments. Treatment options for locally advanced SCCHN may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapy
  • Stereotactic radiosurgery

These treatments can be used alone or in combination, depending on the characteristics of the tumor and the patient’s overall health. The goal of treatment is to cure the cancer, preserve or maintain function, and reduce the patient’s discomfort.

Surgery is the most common form of treatment for locally advanced SCCHN. Depending on the size, location, and aggressiveness of the cancer, the surgeon may opt for a wide local excision to remove all visible cancer from the site, followed by a course of radiation. If the tumor is too large or aggressive to be removed manually, a more radical form of surgery called a neck dissection may be performed.

Radiation therapy is another option for patients with locally advanced SCCHN. It can be used alone or in combination with another type of treatment such as surgery. High doses of radiation are targeted to the tumor site in order to kill the cancer cells and shrink the tumor. This can also reduce the risk of recurrence.

Chemotherapy is often used in combination with radiation or surgery to treat locally advanced SCCHN. Systemic chemotherapy drugs are used to attack cancer cells that may have spread beyond the primary tumor site. Chemotherapy may also be used in conjunction with radiation to shrink the tumor before surgery in order to make the operation easier and less complicated.

Immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery are newer forms of treatment available for locally advanced SCCHN. Immunotherapy uses drugs that target the immune system to either destroy the cancer cells or stop the growth of the tumor. Targeted therapies work by attacking specific genetic mutations that allow the cancer cells to grow and spread. And stereotactic radiosurgery delivers precise doses of radiation to the tumor, but differs from traditional radiation therapy in that it is a single treatment and does not require daily treatments.

The most appropriate form of treatment for a person with locally advanced SCCHN depends on a variety of factors including the size and extent of the tumor, the patient’s overall health, and their treatment preferences. Therefore, it is important to discuss all of your options with your doctor so that you can make an informed decision.