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Douglas A. Liening and collaborators at Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma, Wash, recently reported to the American Academy of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery in Washington, DC, on the incidence of hypothyroidism following full-course irradiation to the neck for treatment of squamous cell carcinoma. They found in the group of patients who received irradiation therapy alone that approximately 6% of patients had elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels with normal thyroxine levels. When patients underwent radiation therapy and surgery, not including the thyroid gland, 28% had elevated TSH levels. In patients undergoing laryngectomy and partial thyroidectomy with radiation therapy, the incidence was 64%. This paper is important as it addresses the need of checking TSH levels in addition to standard triiodothyronine and thyroxine levels in treated patients with head and neck cancer. It also points to the high percentage of patients with thyroid gland abnormality following head and neck cancer therapy who
DAVIS RK. Hypothyroidism Following Radiotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1989;115(5):555. doi:10.1001/archotol.1989.01860290013006
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