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Head and Neck Cancers

​​​​​​​​​Head and Neck Oncologists diagnose and treat cancers that involve the head and neck area.

These include tumors of the lip, tongue, inside lining of the mouth, gums, sinuses, salivary glands, upper and lower part of the throat, nasal pathways, and voice box. 

Successful treatment of cancers of the head and neck usually require a combination of treatments including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. 

Marshfield Clinic Cancer Specialists detect and treat these types of cancers.

Treatments

The treatment of head and neck cancer depends on the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread, and the person's overall health. 

A team of doctors will work with the patient to determine the best treatment plan.

Surgery

The purpose of surgery is to remove the tumor and some of the healthy tissue around it so that no cancerous tissue remains. 

If the cancer has spread, the lymph nodes in the neck may also be removed. 

Depending on the location, stage, and the type of the cancer, some people may need multiple surgeries or reconstructive and plastic surgery to restore the appearance and function to the areas affected by the surgery.

Sometimes, especially if it is not possible to completely remove the cancer through surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended in addition to, or in place of surgery.

​Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy​ uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Most often, radiation therapy is used to kill stray cancer cells that may remain in the body after surgery.

  • Gamma Knife™ - The Gamma Knife is not really a knife at all but a non-invasive treatment for patients with head and neck cancer that has spread to the base of the skull.
    A dose of gamma radiation is directed by highly sophisticated computer technology to the tumor site, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
    Gamma Knife™ surgery involves a team of medical experts ​​from neurosurgery, radiation oncology and radiation physics.
    Marshfield Clinic physicians have access to one of the only Gamma Knife units in the state through Marshfield Medical Center.
    This technology enables our physicians the ability to treat patients with tumors who would not have been able to be treated with other technologies.

  • IMRT - Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy (IMRT). This allows the radiation oncology team to: 
    •    Customize a patient's treatment to the size, shape and location of the tumor.
    •    Minimize the amount of healthy tissue that is exposed to radiation.
    •    Treat tumors previously considered untreatable.
  • TomoTherapy® - a form of IRMT that delivers highly precise radiation therapy from all angels which can be used for many tumors, including those that are hard to reach.
    TomoTherapy targets tumors using built-in CT scanning to confirm the shape and position of the tumor before each treatment.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy​ uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs interfere with the growth of cancer cells, eventually causing the cells to die. 

Chemotherapy treatment is used to shrink the tumor, keep the tumor from spreading, and kill cancer cells that have spread to other areas of the body or relieve symptoms related to cancer.

Chemotherapy is often used with radiation therapy in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made drugs that find and attach to specific places (proteins) on the surface of cancer cells. 

When they attach, they stop the protein from doing its job, such as making cancer cells grow. Monoclonal antibodies can be used alone or in combination with other therapies.

Anti-angiogenesis

The formation of new blood vessels feeding tumors is called angiogenesis. Anti-angiogenesis drugs work by cutting off a tumor's blood supply so the tumor starves and is prevented from growing and/or spreading.​​

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)