WITHIN recent years, radical surgery following intensive radiation therapy for cancer has been performed more and more frequently to extirpate residual or recurrent tumor and/or lymph nodes, the involvement of which could not be ascertained initially.
This represents a laudable attempt to advance the horizons of knowledge by dynamic exploitation of currently available means. No one will deny that an element of considerable risk from the standpoint of postoperative morbidity is involved, although this risk does not constitute a logical objection to this prodigious undertaking, considering what is at stake. Nevertheless, when a definite hazard is entailed by a certain procedure with therapeutic principles at issue, a careful evaluation of its potential complications is in order. This should be done so that surgical indications and contraindications with respect to the irradiated patient may be brought into sharper focus.
Obviously, if irradiation in even slight amounts predisposed to a high operative