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Soft Palate Cancer

What to Expect After Treatment is Completed

 

Once you have made it through treatment, you need to have close follow-up with your doctor. This follow-up plan is recommended after being treated for a throat cancer:

  • Visit your head and neck specialist on a regular schedule (or earlier if you have any concerning symptoms). This allows your doctor to examine you for any signs that the cancer has come back.
    • For the first year, you should go every one to three months.
    • For the second year, you should go every two to six months.
    • For the third to fifth year, you should go every four to eight months.
    • After five years, you can start going every year.
  • Your doctor should select a scan to be performed in the first six months after treatment. The first scan serves as a “baseline” study for the purpose of comparing future studies. This will depend on the type, stage, and location of your cancer. Imaging may include CT scans, MRI scans and PET scans. If something suspicious comes up, you might need another biopsy.
  • Consider chest imaging to check for any signs of lung cancer if you have an extensive smoking history.
  • Check your thyroid function every six to twelve months if you were ever with radiation to the neck area.
  • Get help with a therapist as needed for difficulties with speaking, hearing and swallowing.
  • See a specialist about appropriate nutrition and diet.
  • Alert your doctor if you experience any signs of depression.
  • Stop smoking and stop drinking.
  • See a dentist.
References

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12 Jan JC, Hsu WH, Liu SA, Wong YK, Poon CK, Jiang RS, Jan JS, Chen IF. Prognostic factors in patients with buccal squamous cell carcinoma: 10-year experience. J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2011 Feb;69(2):396-404.

13 Sinha P, Lewis JS Jr, Piccirillo JF, Kallogjeri D, Haughey BH. Extracapsular spread and adjuvant therapy in human papillomavirus-related, p16-positive oropharyngeal carcinoma. Cancer. 2012 Jul 15;118(14):3519-30.

14 Pradhan SA, Rajpal RM. Marginal mandibulectomy in the mangement of squamous cancer of the oral cavity. Indian J Cancer. 1987;24;167-171.

15 Maddox WA, Urist MM. Histopathological prognostic factors of certain primary oral cavity cancers. 1990 Dec;4(12):39-42; discussion 42, 45-6.

16 Piccirillo JF, Costas I, Reichman ME. Chapter 2: Cancers of the Head and Neck. Ries LAG, Young JL, Keel GE, Eisner MP, Lin YD, Horner M-J (editors). SEER Survival Monograph: Cancer Survival Among Adults: U.S. SEER Program, 1988-2001, Patient and Tumor Characteristics. National Cancer Institute, SEER Program, NIH Pub. No. 07-6215, Bethesda, MD, 2007.

17 Adelstein, D. J., et al. (2012). "Transoral resection of pharyngeal cancer: summary of a National Cancer Institute Head and Neck Cancer Steering Committee Clinical Trials Planning Meeting, November 6-7, 2011, Arlington, Virginia." Head Neck 34(12): 1681-1703.

18 Amin M, Edge S, Greene F, et al. (2017). AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 8th ed. New York: Springer.

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20 Beitler JJ, Zhang Q, Fu KK, et al. (2014). “Final results of local-regional control and late toxicity of RTOG 9003: a randomized trial of altered fractionation radiation for locally advanced head and neck cancer.” Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 89(1):13-20.

21 Cracchiolo, J. R., et al. (2016). "Increase in primary surgical treatment of T1 and T2 oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma and rates of adverse pathologic features: National Cancer Data Base." Cancer 122(10): 1523-1532.

22 Denis F, Garaud P, Bardet E at al. (2004). “Final results of the 94-01 French Head and Neck Oncology and Radiotherapy Group randomized trial comparing radiotherapy alone with concomitant radiochemotherapy in advanced-stage oropharynx carcinoma.” J Clin Oncol 22(1):69-76.

23 Haughey, B. H., et al. (2011). "Transoral laser microsurgery as primary treatment for advanced-stage oropharyngeal cancer: a United States multicenter study." Head Neck 33(12): 1683-1694.

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