Head & Neck Cancer Treatment
If you have cancer of the head or neck, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments.
We provide all forms of chemotherapy and internal and external radiation therapy for patients with head and neck cancers. You may receive one or both therapies.
Radiation therapy uses high-dose X-rays to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. It can be internal or external. You may receive radiation, like an X-ray, from outside the body. Or, the doctor may place radioactive material inside your body, near the cancer site. Radiation therapy is normally done Monday through Friday for as long as needed.
Via Christi Cancer Care also offers intensity modulated radiotherapy (IMRT) and stereotactic radiotherapy (SRT). These procedures minimize radiation damage to normal tissues around the tumor, especially sensitive tissues, such as the brainstem, spinal cord, eyes and optic nerves.
Chemotherapy uses medicines to destroy cancer cells. You may receive it by injection or through your veins. This is called systemic chemotherapy. You also can get it through your spinal column, an organ or a body cavity, such as the abdomen. This is called regional chemotherapy. The type of chemotherapy depends on the type and stage of the cancer.
Via Christi Cancer Care has a multidisciplinary head and neck cancer team. Our physicians offer surgical treatment, including laser surgery to treat voice box cancer.
We also are one of the few medical centers in the country to use endoscopic laser surgery (ELS) to treat head and neck cancers. ELS uses a laser to remove minute portions of tissue, which we then examine under a microscope to determine if they are cancerous. This approach preserves tissue and avoids the need for external incisions and major reconstruction.
For patients with cancers that are large or advanced, our specialists perform complicated surgeries to remove tumors from the jaw and face. Our hospital has the only team of microvascular surgeons in the region experienced in head and neck reconstruction.
Our head and neck surgeons are the first specialists in the region to perform transoral otolaryngologic surgical procedures using the da Vinci® Surgical System. Now, benign tumors and select malignant tumors of the tonsils and base of the tongue in adults can be treated using this minimally invasive, highly precise system, giving our patients faster recovery times and shorter hospital stays.
Our orthopedic and otolaryngology surgeons pioneered a surgical technique that uses free bone and soft tissue from the forearm. It has revolutionized reconstructive surgery for head and neck cancers.
Sometimes people with head and neck cancer take part in clinical trials. Clinical trials are research projects to test medicines and treatments.