Head and Neck Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer
As the busiest head and neck cancer center in North Carolina, our team of head and neck cancer physicians are experts in managing the complex needs of patients with head and neck cancers . Our surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, as well as our specialty support staff, are committed to finding effective ways to treat these tumors. The more than 300 patients we treat a year have access to clinical trials and research into new, advanced methods for treating these complicated cancers.
Multidisciplinary Approach to Head and Neck Cancer in North Carolina
At the Comprehensive Cancer Center, our oncologists work in multidisciplinary teams to provide comprehensive, cutting-edge cancer care. Each new patient is evaluated by the appropriate physicians (surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists), and a treatment plan is recommended to the patient and referring physician. This multidisciplinary coordination allows for enhanced patient convenience and timing of appointments, as well as closer and more effective physician planning and treatment decisions. Learn more about diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancers at Wake Forest.
Restoring Patients’ Quality of Life
Head and neck cancers can be particularly debilitating for patients, due to inadequate repair after surgery to remove the tumor(s), the loss of salivary gland function, strictures in the esophagus, and the general risk of difficulty eating, swallowing or speaking.
We place a high priority on restoring a patient’s quality of life, and we are proud of our expertise in reconstruction. Our state-of-the-art surgical therapy includes robotic surgeries, skull base surgical techniques as well as microvascular reconstruction of the defect left by the cancer removal. We are continually exploring ways to reconstruct damaged tissue with the patient’s own tissue, without resorting to prosthetics. An example is the use of the temporalis muscle to fill a defect in the palate, which has produced excellent results.
Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials and Research in North Carolina
We conduct active research in the areas of tumor biology and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning of head and neck tumors, management of swallowing disorders, and regenerating salivary gland function. We offer our head and neck cancer patients’ clinical trials in the areas of cancer prevention, cancer treatment and symptom management.
Just as important as your treatment is survivorship. Because we treat so many head and neck cancer survivors every year, we have learned a lot about how cancer treatments can affect quality of life. To this end, we have established The Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Program to provide additional guidance and support to head and neck cancer patients following treatment.