Purpose of review: Radiotherapy is one of the most effective treatment modalities for head and neck cancer. However, because of the intricacy between tumors and normal tissues, it can induce morbidity, such as mucositis, dermatitis, xerostomia, dysphagia, hearing loss, vision impairment, skin fibrosis, and osteoradionecrosis of the jaw, and it can dramatically impact on patient quality of life.
Recent findings: Throughout the last decade, significant improvements have been made in head and neck cancer radiotherapy, especially with the introduction on a routine basis of intensity-modulated radiotherapy.
Summary: In this context, this review manuscript will focus on how the implementation of intensity-modulated radiotherapy influences treatment morbidity. Specifically, the issues of target volume and organ-at-risk delineation, sparing of organs at risk, tailored treatment intensity, adaptive treatment, and the use of proton therapy will be discussed.