Head and Neck Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer Support Group
From diagnosis to survivorship, our support group is here for you.
The head and neck program at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center serves as a regional treatment center and offers comprehensive care for patients with all types and stages of head and neck tumors, both benign and malignant.
Through screening, diagnosis, staging, treatment and long-term follow up, the interdisciplinary team of physicians and health care providers are able to provide individualized treatment plans and access to the most advanced treatments possible. This includes, but is not limited to, tumors of the:
- oral cavity
- salivary glands
- larynx and pharynx
- thyroid and parathyroid glands
- nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
- large or aggressive skin cancers, including melanoma
Specialty trained providers on the management team include head and neck surgeons, radiologists, endocrinologists, pathologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists and dental oncologists. Other members of this team are speech pathologists, audiologists, social workers and advance practice nurses.
Every new patient referred to our Head and Neck Oncology Clinic for a new cancerous or non-cancerous tumor can be seen by one of our head and neck surgeons, usually within a week. Appropriate diagnostic studies or tests are frequently also arranged for the day of the initial visit. These may include CT scan, MRI scan, fine needle biopsy, or laryngopharyngoscopy. PET/CT scanning is used to allow for early detection of cancer spread and to monitor patients for post-treatment recurrence.
Treatment of malignant (cancerous) tumors often involves surgery, however, both surgical and non-surgical treatment options are discussed: The non-surgical treatments often involve concurrent radiation therapy and chemotherapy. When appropriate, voice-preserving partial laryngectomy procedures are offered as treatment alternatives. In addition, our surgeons can treat early cancers of the larynx with endoscopic laser excision, and offer transoral laser resections of certain tumors of the oral cavity and oropharynx.
The diagnostic evaluation and treatment of patients with head and neck tumors is the beginning of a program of comprehensive management. Our program also emphasizes rehabilitation and functional restoration after treatment. Speech therapists and physical therapists are frequently asked to assist in a patient's recovery. Speech and swallowing restoration with experienced therapists will result in an improved quality of life after cancer treatment. Our program also offers voice restoration after laryngectomy including voice prosthesis procedures. Once treated, our patients are followed regularly for a minimum of five years.
Patients with thyroid or parathyroid neoplastic disorders can be evaluated in our interdisciplinary thyroid/parathyroid specialty clinic. Surgeons and endocrinologists both evaluate and determine a treatment plan. The endocrinologist is skilled at ultrasonographic evaluation of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, as well as ultrasound-guided fine needle biopsy of thyroid nodules. Biopsy results are often available and called to the patient within 24 hours.
In addition to highly specialized diagnosis and treatment options, physicians at Ellis Fischel conduct a variety of clinical trials.