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September 1960

Carcinoma of the Larynx After Irradiation for Papilloma

Author Affiliations

Evanston, Ill.
From Northwestern University Medical School and Evanston Hospital.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1960;72(3):289-294. doi:10.1001/archotol.1960.00740010297001

Contributing to a medical error by endorsing a method later proven unduly hazardous for the result achieved involves a duty to help correct that error. One purpose of this report is to discuss danger in indiscriminate employment of irradiation for benign conditions. In 1937 one of us1 reported the use of x-rays in 112 patients with acute infections. This was just at the beginning of the sulfonamide era. The results were often spectacularly good, as in acute cervical adenitis where the waiting time for resolution of suppuration was often reduced from weeks to a few days. However, late serious results may occur from this treatment, as this discussion will show.

It is now well established that irradiation may cause leukemia and skin carcinoma. It is also generally accepted that this agent is chiefly responsible for many cases of cancer of the thyroid and other organs. At least six cases