Head and neck cancers are treated through an interdisciplinary clinic. This means that rather than visiting a multitude of doctors, the team of doctors responsible for your cancer treatment visit you in one room. This may include head and neck surgeons, otolaryngologists, medical oncologists, or radiation oncologists. The doctors will go over your cancer stage with you, and what the best treatment is for your cancer type.
Surgery is performed to remove the tumor and any involved lymph nodes. The term neck dissection is used for surgeries requiring the removal of a significant number of lymph nodes.
Chemotherapy is used to help reduce metastasis (spreading) of the tumor and is prescribed and monitored by a medical oncologist (not a radiation oncologist). Chemotherapy is commonly administered in the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center. For most head and neck cancers, chemotherapy is given during the radiation treatment, resulting in a better effectiveness.
At University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, there is specialized expertise in a radiation therapy technique called intensity modulation that helps shape the treatment around the tumor. We also use imaging, including PET, advanced CT, and MR for planning a patient's radiation treatment.
Radiation therapy is commonly administered as fractionated doses for head and neck cancer patients. This means that you will come to the Department of Radiation Oncology each day (Monday through Friday) for about six to seven weeks, to receive a radiation treatment. During that time, you will see your radiation oncologist each week to monitor your progress and treatment. The therapists and nurses will also monitor you closely to make sure you don't have any reactions to treatment.
More information on head and neck cancer and its treatments through the Holden Cancer Center's Cancer Information Service.
Department of Otolaryngology
|For further information or to schedule an appointment, please call 319-356-2253.