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Clinical Outcomes

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Unknown Primary

A distinct subset of head and neck cancer patients can present with cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes of the neck without an obvious source of the cancer (primary). Extensive workup involving surgical evaluation, molecular diagnostic profiling and functional PET/CT imaging is required to search for a possible primary site. Our approach in treating the unknown primary is unique in that it addresses the most likely site of origin (tonsil and tongue base) while sparing other potential but unlikely sources of the cancer such as the voice box and significant portion of the swallowing structures. These results indicate that multidisciplinary treatment provides excellent control for this very worrying diagnosis.

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