Head and neck cancer care from ENT specialists
When you choose cancer centers and ear, nose and throat (ENT) clinics at Ascension sites of care, you get a care team that is part of a national network. Our experienced cancer doctors share best practices and the latest in cancer treatment and research – bringing the best of cancer care to you. Every appointment with your oncologist or ENT care team starts with a compassionate conversation. Your doctor answers your questions and gets to know you. So, you get a personalized cancer care plan. And with a plan, comes hope. We will help you navigate your care and will be by your side every step of the way, connecting the dots. Our goal is to help you get back to home, family, life and self sooner.
Comprehensive care for head and neck (oral) cancer
For many types and stages of head and neck cancer, it’s important to start treatment right away. Getting the right treatment at the right time for your cancer can help make a difference in your survival and recovery. Head and neck cancers can be detected in various parts of the mouth, nose and throat, but do not include brain cancer or cancer of the eyes.
Our experienced cancer specialists and care teams have the expertise to deliver treatment options for early and late-stage cancer diagnoses. And our oncologists, radiation therapists and surgeons develop highly specialized surgical and therapeutic treatment plans, customized for your type of cancer, including:
- Lymph nodes in the neck
- Thyroid and parathyroid glands
- Mouth, tongue, lips, gums, tonsils
- Nose and sinuses
- Salivary glands
- Throat, including vocal cords and surrounding structures
Whenever possible, minimally invasive treatments and surgery will be recommended and may mean a faster recovery.
Team approach helps navigate tests and support services
Along the way, your care may require imaging, lab tests, support, speech-language pathology or other specialists. You do not have to navigate your care alone. Your care team will help you schedule appointments, connect with other services and support groups, and answer your questions. From your first consultation and throughout your ongoing care, you and your doctor will stay connected through in-person and virtual visits. When you come into the clinic for your appointments, know that we’re maintaining strict precautions to keep you safe in our care.
Compassionate, multidisciplinary team approach to cancer care
Your doctor and care team work together with you on a care plan that’s right for you. First, you will meet with your doctor and care team to discuss your diagnosis and your care options. Your doctor will answer all your questions, paying attention to your needs and those of your caregivers, including your mental and emotional health. In addition to your surgeon, your care team may include a medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, oncology-certified nurses, speech therapist, dietitian, social worker, chaplain and palliative care specialist. And your care team stays connected to discuss your treatment and progress. As your care needs change, we’re ready to support you.
Treatment with enhanced recovery options
Experienced ENT surgeons collaborate with other surgeons and specialists to deliver advanced care before, during and after endocrine and other types of head and neck surgery. For throat cancer surgery and thyroid and parathyroid gland surgery, our surgeons work to help protect the throat structures using advanced techniques, including 3D imaging and endoscopic nerve monitoring technology, to deliver surgical treatments that support your recovery.
Your care team may refer to enhanced recovery pathways as part of your surgical care plan. These are an important part of our cancer treatment programs. Each pathway is personalized for different types of cancer treatments, to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Each recovery pathway is personalized for different types of cancer treatments to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Your care team uses these protocols to help you prepare for what to expect before, during and after surgery, including:
- Endoscopic laser surgery
- Hormone therapy (for thyroid or pituitary cancer)
- Lymph node surgery
- Minimally invasive endoscopic procedures
- Otolaryngology (ENT) surgery
- Reconstructive (plastic) surgery, facial and soft tissue
Across our national network, we deliver chemotherapy, immunotherapy, intensity modulated radiation therapy, speech therapy for swallowing and speech-communication disorders and targeted treatment options for many types of cancer, delivered by highly trained specialists. If you want to learn more about other possible options, talk to your doctor. You may want to ask whether cancer clinical trials are the right option for your care.
Prevention and screenings to help detect head and neck cancer early
Getting regular oral screening of your mouth, tongue and gums may help find oral cancer early, when it is most treatable. Talk with your doctor and dentist about prevention and screenings that are right for you, based on your age, family history, smoking history and other risk factors. In addition to screenings, talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing, such as problems swallowing, problems breathing or speaking, pain or blood in your mouth or gums, concerns about a lump or thickening in your mouth, nose or on your tongue, or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
Prolonged use of alcohol and of all types of tobacco are risk factors for developing oral cancer. Most cancers in the oropharynx (tonsils, soft palate, and base of the tongue) are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus that can be prevented through vaccination. If you have been previously diagnosed with cancer or are in remission, screenings may be an ongoing part of your cancer care. If you need help finding a doctor, start here.
Get a second opinion on your head and neck cancer diagnosis or care plan
Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan are right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension sites of care. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.
When you are facing a new head and neck cancer diagnosis or are deciding on a surgical or therapeutic treatment plan, there’s a lot to think about. Our cancer specialists can provide a second opinion, based on our experience and as part of an integrated national network of care.
Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to find out if a second opinion is covered. We can request your medical records on your behalf, so that they can be shared with your care team before your arrival.
Financial assistance and support is available
We can connect you with resources and programs that may be able to help you and your family with options for financial assistance. Our financial counseling team is here to listen to your concerns and work with you to help find options that meet your needs.