Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

If the cancer hasnt spread beyond the mouth or the oropharynx (the bit of patient throat at the back of patient mouth), a complete cure may be possible using a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

If the cancer has spread to other parts of the body, then a cure is unlikely but it will be possible to slow the progress of the cancer and help relieve symptoms by using surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Before treatment begins Radiotherapy makes the teeth more sensitive and vulnerable to infection so before treatment begins, patient will be given a full dental examination and any necessary work will be carried out.

If the cancer is in its very early stages, it may be possible to remove any tumours using a type of laser surgery known as photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT involves taking a medicine that makes patient tissue sensitive to the effects of light. A laser is then used to remove the tumour.

If patient cancer is more advanced, it may be necessary to remove part of patient mouth lining and, in some cases, facial skin, which can be replaced using skin grafted from patient forearm or chest.

If patient tongue is affected, part of the tongue will have to be removed. This is known as a partial glossectomy. The tongue is then reconstructed using grafted tissue.

If the cancer has spread to patient jawbone it will need to be surgically removed. The jawbone can be replaced by taking bone from another part of patient body and grafting it in place.

Occasionally, other bones, such as cheekbones, may have to be removed to completely remove the cancer.

Radiotherapy uses doses of radiation to kill cancerous cells. It may be possible to remove the cancer using radiotherapy alone, but it is usually used after surgery to prevent the cancer from reoccurring