The results of single modality treatment using surgery or radiotherapy alone in advanced head and neck cancers are known to be unsatisfactory. The present study analyses 252 cases with stage III and IV resectable cancers of the head and neck region selected to be treated by a combined regime of pre- or post-operative radiation and radical surgery. Only 193 patients completed the treatment protocol. There were 58 cases (33.5 per cent) who failed either at primary or regional sites or both. Nine cases (five per cent) developed distant metastasis. Absolute and determinate four year disease-free survival was 55 per cent and 61 per cent respectively. Early lesions (stage I and II) have been excluded from the study. The study indicates that a reduction in primary and regional failures correlates well with a combined therapy, though prolonged treatment may affect patients' compliance to some extent.