Brachytherapy represents an important part of oncological care for a substantial part of patients with head-and-neck cancer. In principle, the patients should meet the following basic requirements for brachytherapy:
• Good cooperation and motivation of the patient.
• General anesthesia is available (with the exceptions of the lips and the nasopharyngeal region).
• A clinical examination with a precise diagram has been performed. Panendoscopy is also preferable.
• CT and/or MRI examination results are available.
Results of interstitial brachytherapy for oral cavity cancer depend particularly on the tumor size and the used total dose. It is apparent that the best results are achieved with smaller tumors (T1, T2) with tumor control rates of 80%–94%.
Brachytherapy also represents an important option as a highly effective treatment method for reirradiation of patients with recurrent tumor, as well as for patients with secondary tumors. Brachytherapy allows tumor control in approximately 70% of such patients.
For nasopharynx tumors, intracavitary brachytherapy as a boost after external beam allows local control rates up to 80%–94%. Compared with external beam irradiation, a boost using brachytherapy appears to significantly reduce the probability of a recurrence.