Less radical surgeries that preserve nerves, arteries, and muscles in the neck are now being used. Patients continue to move, speak, breathe and eat normally after surgery. Patients with certain throat cancers, who a few years ago would have lost their vocal cords and their voices, can often be treated with a less invasive surgery that preserves critical structures. Rehabilitative specialists will work with you to help you adjust to and overcome any impairments.
One of the most exciting new surgical advances is the use of laser surgery to remove certain throat cancers using an endoscopic probe in the mouth. This technique allows our surgeons to remove tumors without an open incision in the neck. Research data indicate that the results of complex surgical procedures like these reconstructions are best accomplished by specialists who perform them on a regular basis.
Radiation therapy is critical to cure almost all advanced head and neck cancers. Our physicians use new radiation techniques that precisely aim beams to target tumors, since crucial structures are often very close to head and neck tumors. Intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) effectively targets the tumor while simultaneously minimizing damage to normal tissues.
Our medical oncologists have unique expertise in head and neck cancers. Our team continues to study innovative new treatments. The integration of chemotherapy with radiation has become very important for patients with head and neck cancers that involves the lymph nodes or are locally extensive. This approach can lead to organ preservation and increase the chance of cure.
Breakthroughs in targeted therapy and biomarkers allow a personalized approach that can avoid the toxicities of conventional chemotherapy in some cases, and new treatments to prevent recurrence in high-risk situations are also under study. For patients with recurrent disease, new anti-cancer drugs and immunotherapies are also available.