Regionally trusted cancer care
At Trident Health, our physicians provide innovative and compassionate treatment for cancers of the head and neck.
The power of a multidisciplinary team
A multidisciplinary team is able to attack cancer from all sides. That’s how we treat cancers of the head and neck. Our physicians and specialists have more than 100 years of combined experience and have cared for thousands of patients. Our team includes:
- Head and neck surgeons
- Head and neck radiation oncologists
- An oncologic dentist with expertise in oral cancer
- An oral and maxillofacial pathologist
- Head and neck advanced nurse specialists
- Head and neck radiologists
- Other focused head and neck experts and therapists
Our head and neck team specializes in complex head and neck cancers, cancers that were treated but didn’t go away or cancers that metastasized.
What we treat
Our team of physicians and specialists provide care for benign and malignant tumors in the head and neck region. We treat patients with:
- Skin cancer (including complex skin cancers not treatable by Mohs surgery)
- Parathyroid adenomas
- Oral cancer (cancers of the mouth)
- Throat cancer
- Voice box cancer
- Salivary gland tumors
- Skull base tumors (in the sinuses, ears, eyes, or around the base of the skull)
How we care for our patients
Our treatments aren’t one size fits all. Our multidisciplinary team uses the following treatment options to create customized care plans:
- Surgery (including robotic and minimally invasive procedures)
- Radiation therapy
- Complex microvascular reconstructive surgery
- Skull base surgery
- Clinical trials for patients who have not had success with prior treatments
- Cosmetic, functional, chewing and dental rehabilitation
- Oral and maxillofacial prosthetics and prosthodontics
- Speech and swallowing therapy
- Survivor support
- Weekly multidisciplinary tumor board to customize care for each patient
Our maxillofacial prosthodontics team provides dental repair and prosthetics of the teeth, jaw, nose, eyes and ears.
Innovative and custom care
Tumor boards – We host multidisciplinary tumor boards each week. Our specialists review cases and work together to create customized care plans.
Clinical Trials – Our personalized treatment plans can include taking part in a clinical trial, for patients that have not had success with prior treatments.
Rehabilitation – Many of our patients need help getting back to living their lives. Our experts provide cosmetic, functional, chewing and dental rehabilitation.
Therapy – We provide speech and swallowing therapy for patients, so they regain function and feel confident
Signs and symptoms of head and neck cancers
A lump in the neck
Typically, cancers that first present in the head or neck spread to the lymph nodes before spreading to other parts of the body. A lump (or lumps) in the neck can be the first sign of cancers in the mouth, throat, larynx, thyroid gland or salivary glands. See a doctor as soon as possible if a lump in the neck appears for two weeks or more.
The majority of cancers in a person’s voice box cause a change in their voice. Most voice changes are not caused by cancer, but if someone is hoarse or voice changes persist for more than two weeks, they need to see a doctor.
A growth in the mouth
A sore mouth or swelling in the tongue could be a sign of cancer. These sores might be painless but could still indicate a tumor or cancer. If a person has an ulcer or swelling in the mouth or tongue, along with lumps in the neck that persist for more than two weeks, it’s important to consult a physician. A doctor will determine if a biopsy performed by an ENT specialist is needed.
While bleeding in the mouth is usually caused by something other than cancer, in some cases, bleeding can be caused by tumors in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs.
Cancers that begin in the throat or esophagus can make it difficult to swallow. If a person has a problem swallowing every time they try to eat, they need to see a doctor.
Changes in the skin
Basal cell skin cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer. However, this type of cancer is rarely serious if diagnosed and treated early on.
Basal cell cancers typically appear on skin that is often exposed to the sun, such as the forehead, face and ears. This type of cancer usually starts as a small, pale patch on the skin that enlarges slowly.
There are other kinds of cancer that can occur on the head and neck, such as squamous cell cancer and malignant melanoma. Moles on the neck and head could also be a sign of a tumor or cancer.
Look out for moles that change size, change color or start to bleed, which may indicate cancer
Earache that does not go away
Persistent earache can be a sign of tumor growth or an infection in the throat. Visit an ENT specialist if a persistent earache is accompanied by painful swallowing, hoarseness, or a lump in the neck.
Early detection for head and neck cancers is crucial
Tobacco use is the most preventable cause of deaths that are the result of a head or neck cancer.
Tobacco use doesn’t just include smoking. Smokeless or spit tobacco can also cause diseases and cancer of the mouth.
Additionally, e-cigarettes and vaping products may also pose health risks and should not be viewed as a “safe” alternative to smoking. Along with tobacco, alcohol is the most common cause of cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and tongue.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 70 percent of cancers of the tonsils, tongue and back of the mouth are linked to HPV. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the U.S.
The CDC states that the HPV vaccine does protect against the types of HPV that can cause oropharyngeal cancers, so it may also prevent these cancers.
If detected early, some of these head and neck cancers can be cured successfully with few side effects.
Don’t wait until symptoms get worse — talk to your doctor as soon as possible at the first sign of these head and neck cancers.