Head & Neck Surgery for Cancer Patients

//Head & Neck Surgery For Cancer Patients
Head & Neck Surgery For Cancer Patients 2016-11-16T14:57:03+00:00

Head and neck cancers impact more than 55,000 Americans annually. For those affected, early detection and proactive treatment plans are key to achieving desired outcomes. Surgery, which is often part of head and neck cancer treatment plans, can diagnose, stage and treat cancers by removing the cancerous tumors.

The surgeons at ENT and Allergy of Delaware (ENTAD) are experienced in creating personalized surgical options to best support treatment plans for cancers at various stages. ENTAD surgeons actively participate and direct head and neck cancer care at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center.

Head & Neck Surgery for Benign (non-cancerous) Diseases


Head and neck cancers are largely curable if detected and addressed early. Whether you have an increased risk to develop cancer of the head and neck due to tobacco use or not, it’s smart to be aware of the signs – it could save your life or the life of a loved one.

  • A lump: While all lumps are not cancers, a lump, especially in the neck, that is present for 2 weeks or longer should be examined by a physician.
  • Abnormal bleeding: Mouth, nose, and throat tumors can cause blood to be present in saliva or mucus. If you are experiencing this type of bleeding for more than a few days, see your physician.
  • Mouth growth: Mouth and tongue cancers commonly cause a persistent swelling or soreness. They may also cause white or red patches inside the mouth. While this may be painless, it’s still best to get it checked out.
  • Voice changes: If your voice becomes hoarse for 2 weeks or longer, contact a physician. Changes in the voice can be due to cancer in the larynx.
  • Problems swallowing: Throat or esophageal cancer can make swallowing foods, and even liquids, difficult. If, when swallowing, the food stops and sticks in your throat, or comes back up, you should see a physician.
  • Skin changes:  The most common type of head and neck cancer, basal cell cancer of the skin, typically begins on areas of the head that are most exposed to sun such as the forehead. Other types commonly start on the lip or ear. These cancers cause small, discolored patches of skin that slowly enlarge and eventually include a dimple or ulcer. These cancers are largely treatable if caught early. If you experience a lasting sore or an ulcer on the skin, contact your physician. Malignant melanomas can be detected by a discoloration of the skin that is usually blue or black. These types of skin patches must be seen by a physician as soon as possible.
  • Earache: Pain or pressure in or around the ear that increases in severity when swallowing may be a sign of trouble, especially if you are also experiencing difficulty swallowing, vocal changes or a lump in the neck.

Of course, the symptoms described above do not automatically spell cancer. Many times they are due to another condition. However, it’s best to promptly seek the advice of a physician, since most head and neck cancers can be cured if detected early.

Have a question about your symptoms? We are here to help!

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Surgical Treatment

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms listed here, your physician will perform an examination and one of the specialists at ENT and Allergy of Delaware may be consulted. If you are diagnosed with a cancer of the head and neck, the specialists at ENTAD will help you build a team of doctors to care for you and your cancer.  Based on a variety of factors, including your current health and the stage, size, location and type of cancer, we will help determine if surgery should be part of your treatment plan and if not, we will help to ensure that you have access to the best non-surgical treatments available.