Head & Neck Cancer Care

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Memorial Sloan Kettering surgeons participate in a panel discussion of the latest advances in head and neck cancer treatment.

Panel moderator Dr. Max Gomez of WCBS-TV gives a brief overview of the wide variety of head and neck cancers and the growing trend toward less-invasive procedures such as endoscopic laser surgery and robotic surgery, as well as restoration procedures after surgery, the Memorial Sloan Kettering team approach, and ongoing clinical trials.

Jatin Shah talks about the functions that head and neck cancer can affect the patient such as speech, vision, the ability to chew and swallow, and smell. He says that while treating the cancer is always the primary goal, the focus of modern-day treatment at MSK is the restoration of form and function post-surgery.

Snehal Patel adds that a lot of what surgeons do now is to assess the patient’s quality of life at consultation and devise ways to minimize the impact on the patient’s quality of life postsurgery. He also talks about the complexity of head and neck cancers and the challenges they pose to physicians. Treating head and neck cancers requires a multidisciplinary team in order to have a comprehensive understanding of the patient’s particular cancer.

Ian Ganly explains that ten years ago it was common practice to have invasive surgery, and that his focus is on finding more ways to perform minimally invasive surgical procedures and techniques such as endoscopic laser surgery and robotic surgery. He talks about the steps taken following diagnosis to best treat the patient. He says the treatment approach is very dependent on the location and type of cancer and should take into account not just curing the cancer, but maintaining the patient’s form, function, and quality of life post treatment.