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chemo above the neck?

Posts: 13
Joined: Nov 2012

Hello,some say this is not practiced...but not the case on here I see

Posts: 1846
Joined: Aug 2010

Yes, you are correct, many of these folks, including my husband, had chemo and radiation for a head and/or neck cancer.

My husband is NED 2.5 years out from hypopharyngeal and base of tongue cancer.

Not only is it possible, it works!

Skiffin16's picture
Posts: 8286
Joined: Sep 2009

Or at least with very good results....

Not sure who is saying, "it's not practiced", that's new to me...

But yes, most all of us here with H&N Dx, had chemo..., not all , but probably 80% if not more.... Most with a combination of some degree of surgery, rads, and chemo...

Actually most of us that had chemo, had multiple doses of chemo.... A lot, like myself Cisplatin, Taxotere and 5FU, Carboplatin...others to include Erbitux, which is a cancer fighting drug, though I don't believe it's classified as chemo.


Posts: 760
Joined: Apr 2012

When my husband was diagnosed with laryngeal cancer, they said the preferred treatment was radiation and chemo and then surgery if necessary.  Which all 3 occurred for him.  Then he was diagnosed with cancer at the cervical of the esophagus (rare) and not operable so therefore more radiation and chemo.  When you say over the neck, what about brain cancer, chemo is used for that.

corleone's picture
Posts: 264
Joined: Jul 2012

Here’s what I know (please be aware that different forum members have different experiences and suggestions than mine).

Firstly: not sure if I understand your question. If you are asking if chemo can be selectively delivered to the neck area, while hypothetically can be done, I don’t think it has been done (it would imply delivery via catheters implanted in selective arteries that are going to the head and neck area).

More likely you are asking if the chemo should be done for H&N cancers, and the answer is depends on the stage. If the tumor is stage I or even II, one might consider delivering only radiation. The higher the stage though, using chemo becomes a necessity. While radiation needs to be done in most cases, there are different ways to deliver the chemo: before (induction), during radiation (concurrent radiation and chemo) or after radiation (adjuvant chemo). Also the chemo can be delivered in one dose (number of sessions depend on the protocol used) or fractionated (theoretically the side effects are better tolerated, but the efficacy has not been proved – to my knowledge, I might be wrong – to be same as in one “blow”). There are also different chemo used, most frequently (but not limited) to cisplatin, carboplatin, 5FU (5 fluorouracil), Gemzar, etc. Also to note that there is also an option for targeted therapy (“targets” specific receptors found on the tumor cell surface) like Erbitux (there are many others, too). In that case there are some tests to be done, to check if the receptors are indeed in higher number on the tumor cells versus normal cells, so not everyone qualifies.

Statistically, it has been shown that the concurrent chemo and radiation is the most efficient. This is not in agreement with everyone on this forum. Keep in mind that in this case the chemo and radiation have synergistic effect (meaning each one potentiate the other). The chemo (usually cisplatin) is considered in this case a radiation sensitizer. Post radiation chemo is usually an option when considering regionally advanced or advanced stages (III, IV), meaning that chemo might work on tumor nodules that are not necessarily limited to head and neck area.

There is also the surgery that can be done in selected cases, but that’s another story.

phrannie51's picture
Posts: 4672
Joined: Mar 2012

chemo and/or rads for HNC, are those who didn't need them (like getting surgery with clean margins).....Chemo and/or rads for HNC is standard for the disease.


CivilMatt's picture
Posts: 4317
Joined: May 2012



Some did practice with Erbitux on my H&N adventure.  Who are these “some say”, I don’t think I am the first.  I am more like number 387, 201.  Maybe, I don’t count (since not traditional chemo drug).  Oh well, some say cancer sucks.



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