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Editorial Footnote
March 2000

Swallowing Function in Patients With Head and Neck Cancer Prior to Treatment

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(3):377. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.3.377

The article, "Swallowing Function in Head and Neck Cancer Patients Prior to Treatment" by Stenson et al,1 is an important addition to the body of literature. The major contribution of this study is the uniqueness of the data. As clinicians and researchers have identified, dysphagia is a multifactorial problem. In this study, the authors documented the potential contribution of pretreatment tumor factors as a cause of dysphagia. Consistent with prior results, different components of dysphagia are a consequence of the site of the primary tumor. Moreover, the authors evaluated the results in patients who underwent nonsurgical management of advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the upper aerodigestive tract. In these organ-sparing treatment approaches it is important not to equate organ preservation with normal swallowing function, as dysphagia after successful treatment has been documented in this patient population.

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