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Treatment for Head & Neck Cancer



  Surgery is an important part of the treatment for head and neck cancers. Head and neck surgery is one of the most complex of surgical specialties. Surgeons in this area not only work closely with trauma and intensive care teams, but also treat facial deformities and the increasing number of oral cancers related to smoking and drinking. 


  Cancer can occur in any of the tissues or organs in the head and neck. Most cancers of the head and neck arise from the lining of the mouth, tongue, throat or the surface covering the tongue. The aim of surgery is two-fold, the complete removal of the cancer and the reconstruction of the damaged area


  Cancer of the mouth and face affects our swallowing, our speech and, more importantly, our self-perception and self-esteem. Therefore, reconstructive surgery of the mouth and face touches on the deepest human feelings about identity. The surgery offers the promise of allowing patients to eat, drink and communicate again through the wide variety of facial expressions and mannerisms that most people take for granted. 


  In a ten-hour procedure, the patient’s cancer is removed, and a new facial ‘flap’ is attached to the recipient’s blood vessels and nerves. The tissues are matched for colour and type, and function. However, the patient’s compliance and contribution to that recovery are equally as important as the surgery itself.




Copyright N Kalavrezos 2013

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