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One of the current trends in oncology treatment is a growing awareness of the overtreatment of certain types of cancers and a corresponding de-escalation of treatment.  But a study by the University Of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) medical oncologist Ikumi Suzuki, MD and her colleagues questions whether older patients with oropharyngeal, oral cavity, and laryngeal squamous cell carcinomas should be considered for more intense multimodality therapies, which can improve outcomes.

Their research suggests that when appropriate, treatment of older patients with locally advanced head and neck cancers should not be based solely on their age.

They analyzed data from more than 5,800 patients, 66 years old and older, and found that those who received combination therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiation, had better outcomes than those who received only one type of therapy. Doctors need to determine if patients are able to tolerate more aggressive treatment, but advanced age alone need not limit their ability to pursue multimodality therapies.

Dr. Suzuki presented the research at the 7th International Congress on Innovative Approaches in Head and Neck Oncology (ICHNO) in Barcelona in March 2019.  

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