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July 1959

Treatment of Squamous-Cell Carcinoma of the Floor of the Mouth

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn.
Section of Plastic Surgery, Mayo Clinic and Mayo Foundation (Dr. Erich). Fellow in Plastic Surgery, Mayo Foundation (Dr. Kragh). The Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minn., is a part of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota.

AMA Arch Surg. 1959;79(1):94-99. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1959.04320070098016

Before 1920, few operations intended to cure carcinoma of the floor of the mouth were proposed. Because of the morbidity and the high mortality rates involved in radical surgical removal of malignant lesions in this location, early surgeons were led to search for more effective but less dangerous methods. Irradiation with radium and by external sources was being perfected and was looked on with high hope. After a thorough trial period, it became clear that the primary tumor often could be controlled by irradiation but that metastatic lesions of the cervical lymph nodes seldom were cured by irradiation alone. At some institutions, electrosurgical removal of the primary lesion was undertaken with some degree of success. Thus, for many years, the usual treatment for malignant tumors in the floor of the mouth consisted in eradicating the primary lesion by electrocoagulation or irradiation or both, and in treating lesions in the cervical