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ABSTRACT: Patients undergoing radiation treatment for head and neck cancer have many critical structures within or adjacent to the treatment area. Avoiding these critical structures is more efficient and easier using 3-D conformal planning. At Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital an investigation into the acute radiation toxicity was undertaken when the head and neck treatment technique was changed from the conventional 2-D plan to the conformal 3-D plan. Although the primary target volume (PTV), fraction size and overall dose remain the same for the two techniques, differing beam configurations mean that treatment fields enter and exit through different parts of the head and neck. Ten patients were initially assessed to gain a baseline appearance of their head and neck region, and then graded weekly according to the toxicity criteria during treatment and at 4, 8 and 12 weeks after treatment. The results of the assessment indicate that there is no increase in toxicity as a result of treating using the conformal head and neck technique.