Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers can arise from the many critical organs and linings that make up the aero digestive tract - these include the nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, tongue, tonsils, base of tongue and larynx. These organs are critical to the way that we interact with the world. When a person has head and neck cancer, his or her appearance and ability to speak, swallow and eat can be at risk.
Our ultimate goal is to cure your cancer by delivering the most oncologically sound treatment, but also to maximize and preserve your quality of life. Our practice collaborates with a team of professionals including head and neck surgeons, medical oncologists, dentists, and dieticians to help select the optimal treatment program with our patients.
We have routinely offered intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) to patients who may benefit from this type of treatment. This allows us to tailor the radiation dose to where it is needed and spare normal, healthy tissues, such as the parotid glands. Our IMRT head and neck program is quite busy and has been in place for more than eight years. Many head and neck cancers, even when they are locally advanced and have spread to lymph nodes (“node positive”), are curable with aggressive treatment.
Our practice also offers to brachytherapy - the placement of small radiation sources inside to tumor - for certain cases of head and neck cancer. This is a useful, alternative treatment option, particularly in the case of recurrent cancer, or for patients who are too frail to pursue more aggressive treatment.