THE PROGNOSIS for a patient with cancer of the head and neck is little better today than it was 25 years ago. Modern radiotherapy is undoubtedly less damaging to the patient's normal tissues and radical surgery a safer procedure, but except in the very early cases only one third can expect to be alive five years after the initial diagnosis of their disease! The success of systemic chemotherapy against bacterial infections stimulated research into the possibilities of attacking the cancer cell with cytotoxic agents. During the last few years vast numbers of such drugs have been synthesized and tested against animal and human tumors. None have had the dramatic success experienced by their predecessors against invading bacteria, yet it is possible that the wise and discriminative application of selective cytotoxic agents could alleviate the suffering of patients with advanced cancer, and might in favorable circumstances prolong life by many years.
HARRISON DFN. Clinical Experience Of Chemotherapy: A Study of 100 Cases of Advanced Head and Neck Cancer. Arch Otolaryngol. 1965;81(2):175–182. doi:10.1001/archotol.1965.00750050182013
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