The treatment of head and neck cancer using external beam radiotherapy is commonly done with three field techniques, which involves bilateral parallel opposed beams and one anterior lower neck field. Conventional treatment is based on 2D fluoroscopic images where there is no facility to shield the organs at risk like parotid. The most common side effect of such conventional radiotherapy treatment is xerostomia. The incidence of radiotherapy-related xerostomia varies depending on the specific radiotherapy technique used and the dose delivered to the parotid glands. Dosimetric variation in the tumor and normal tissue including parotid glands due to volume shrinkage during intensity modulated radiotherapy is the leading challenges in radiotherapy delivery in head and neck malignancy in terms of acute and late radiation related toxicities. Therefore if the planning target volume and normal tissue anatomy are changing with time during intensity modulated radiotherapy, it would be beneficial and acceptable to adapt our treatment delivery to minimize normal tissue toxicities where it really matters.
Part of the book: Radiation Oncology