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May 13, 1968

Cryotherapy for Oral Cancer

Author Affiliations

From the Surgical Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Buffalo, NY, and the Department of Surgery, State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine.

JAMA. 1968;204(7):565-569. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140200005002

Freezing with liquid nitrogen was used for treatment of oral and oropharyngeal cancers in 50 patients. Reasons for the choice of cryotherapy included resistance to radiotherapy, location in areas difficult to excise, desire to avoid disabling sacrifice of mandible or palate, and presence of severe cardiopulmonary disease. The technique was well suited to oral cancer because of its accessibility to treatment and observation. In terms of survival, results appeared comparable to those of excision. Of 24 patients treated more than a year ago, failure to control the primary lesion occurred in three, all of whom had large oropharyngeal lesions not considered suitable for excision. Some of the remaining 21 have died of heart disease or metastatic cancer, but more (17) are alive and apparently well.