Cancers of the head and neck cover a wide spectrum, including cancers of the skin, throat, larynx, mouth, nasal passages and thyroid. With new and exciting radiation therapies, imaging capabilities and a committed group of physicians who take a multidisciplinary approach to care, our Head and Neck Center of Excellence, located at Memorial Hospital, is a distinguished leader in the treatment of these cancers.
Head and neck cancers are generally addressed with surgery and a combination of chemotherapy and radiation. Treatment options depend on what stage your cancer is in.
To determine a treatment plan, your case is presented at a regularly scheduled tumor conference. Specialists from many areas, including Head and Neck specialists, surgeons, radiation oncology, surgical medical oncology, plastic surgery and speech pathology, will use their expertise to agree on a suggested course of treatment. This is like receiving multiple second opinions all at once and is a great benefit to your care.
The development of Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) has proven extremely beneficial in the treatment of head and neck cancers. Using computer-guided, pinpoint precision, the radiation is delivered in higher doses without significant damage to surrounding tissue.
Technological advances in imaging, such as 3-D MRI, provide a picture that almost dissects the tumor and surrounding tissues. This is essential in providing exact direction for treatment. PET scans are used routinely to complete staging of your cancer. Sentinel node biopsies are performed on patients meeting nationally determined guidelines (during surgery) that help determine the spread of head and neck cancers and melanoma.
Nutrition is a concern for many head and neck cancer patients. The dietitians at Memorial’s Centers for Cancer Support offer advice and support to patients and family members who need to select appropriate food choices.
A team of nurses, educators, dietitians, chaplain and social workers offer free services to all cancer patients and their families. Memorial believes that caring for the mind, body and spirit is an important part of treating the whole patient, not simply the cancer. Call (423) 495-7778 for more information on cancer support services.