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Limiting Radiation to Major Salivary Glands in Head, Neck Cancer Patients Is Feasible, Safe

Avoiding the contralateral submandibular gland during radiation therapy is feasible and safe with advanced stage, node positive head and neck cancers and base of tongue lesions, according to research. While this seems worrisome because head and neck cancer spreads through the lymph nodes, it is well established that the risk of cancer involvement in the lymph nodes near the submandibular gland is exceedingly low, yet the benefit of sparing the gland for a patient's quality of life is high.
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