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This randomized phase II/III trial studies how well radiation therapy works when given together with cisplatin compared to docetaxel or cetuximab and docetaxel after surgery in treating patients with stage III-IV squamous cell head and neck cancer. Specialized radiation therapy that delivers a high dose of radiation directly to the tumor may kill more tumor cells and cause less damage to normal tissue. Drugs used in chemotherapy, such as cisplatin and docetaxel, work in different ways to stop the growth of tumor cells, either by killing the cells or by stopping them from dividing. Monoclonal antibodies, such as cetuximab, can block tumor growth in different ways. Some block the ability of tumor cells to grow and spread. Others find tumor cells and help kill them or transmit tumor killing molecules to them. It is not yet known whether radiation therapy is more effective when given with cisplatin, docetaxel, or cetuximab and docetaxel.
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