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Methods of Investigating Metastatic Lymph Nodes in Head and Neck Cancer
When dealing with patients who have head and neck cancer - squamous cell carcinoma and have clinically N0 neck disease it is very difficult to assess the real extension of the malignant proccess. This is why several techniques are curently in use to determine the actual TNM clasiffication for each patient in order to apply best suited therapy management. Up until today the staging of the neck has been done by using a combination of the physical exam and conventional imaging studies. Recent studies and research have tried to determine weather the use of sentinel lymph node biopsy is a more reliable tool in predicting occult metastasis in cancer patients with clinically N0 neck disease. There are no guidelines in this matter and as such the use of the sentinel lymph node detection technique is yet to be used on a routine basis. The authors are trying to assess the benefits of different paraclinical investigation regarding the improvement of over-all survival rates in patients with T1/T2 squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck and N0 neck disease.
Keywords: clinically N0 neck disease, conventional imaging, sentinel lymph node