Head and Neck
Head and neck cancers typically begin in the squamous cells lining the mouth, nose, and throat. They can impact the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, throat, larynx, or salivary glands. The biggest risk factors are tobacco and alcohol use. Cancers of the head and neck region are frightening to deal with, but if caught early, treatment is often effective and the cure rate is high. Treatments usually involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of all three. Some of the more common tumors we treat include:
- Thyroid Tumors. The thyroid gland is located in front of the neck and is responsible for producing hormones that regulate the body’s metabolism. Tumors that develop here can be either benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous). Symptoms include hoarseness, loss of voice, and difficulty swallowing, but diagnostic testing is necessary since they are associated with other conditions, as well. Treatment will depend on the location and stage of the disease, your age, and your overall health. Options include surgery, radioactive iodine therapy, external radiation, hormone therapy, and chemotherapy.
- Salivary Gland Tumors. Tumors of the salivary gland are rare, and when they do occur, they are often benign tumors of the parotid gland, one of the three major salivary glands that are responsible for producing saliva to aid in the digestion process. Symptoms include swelling of the glands, facial numbness or weakness, and difficulty swallowing. As with other tumors, treatment depends on the type, size, stage, and location of the growth. Surgery is the most common treatment method, and may involve removing all or part of the salivary gland and lymph nodes. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are additional options for this type of cancer.
- Skin Cancer and Flap Reconstruction. Skin cancer is often treated by surgically removing tissue from the face. When this occurs, reconstruction may be performed using a local skin flap. In this procedure, skin adjacent to the defect is cut to create a flap that is then stretched over the affected area and secured in place with sutures, creating a closure. Over time the incisions fade, and scars can be smoothed over with techniques such as dermabrasion.