Surgical removal of head and neck cancer constitutes optimal therapy for many patients and Duke Cancer Institute surgeons are among the best in the field.
Our surgeons place a premium on preserving function and minimizing tissue loss whenever possible.
For many types of head and neck cancer, surgery will be used to remove the cancer and some of the tissue around it. If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, one or more nodes, usually in the neck, may be removed.
Surgery may be used to remove all or part of the larynx, one or both of the vocal cords, or parts of the lips or mouth. To treat metastatic squamous neck cancer, tissue, nerves, muscles, lymph nodes, and veins may be removed from one or both sides of the neck.
The Duke Cancer Institute offers transoral robotic surgery for some cases of tonsil, tongue, and larynx cancer. This technique improves patient outcomes and allows resection of these cancers without the need for large, deforming surgical procedures. Transoral robotic surgery also offers a greater chance of preserving speech, swallowing, and breathing functions.
Surgery may be combined with radiation and chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from returning after it is removed. For lip and mouth cancer, surgery combined with radiation therapy is the usual treatment.
Nutrition support tubes may be used for patients who are unable to swallow adequate calories to maintain weight. The tubes may be placed prior to or during chemoradiation treatment. When needed, soft dobhoff tubes may be placed from nose to stomach for nutritional support.
The Duke Head and Neck Cancer Clinic offers a full range of rehabilitation services designed to manage side effects and to help each patient return to normal activities as soon as possible.
Our nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nutritionists, dental experts, and pharmacists help patients manage pain, ensure proper nutrition to maintain health, determine the best doses of medications, and care for patients’ teeth during and after therapy.
Our speech therapists and physical therapists help restore any functions compromised during therapy. Learn more about rehabilitation following head and neck cancer surgery.
Learn how to make an appointment at the Duke Cancer Institute.
Physicians offering this service include: