Head and Neck Oncology / Reconstruction

Cancers of the head and neck constitute the 6th most common malignancy. The successful diagnosis, treatment and long term follow-up of these cancers relies heavily on the expertise of your surgeon and a coordinated approach with other cancer care professionals. This includes radiation and medical oncologists, general practitioners, dentists, and allied health professionals such as speech therapists, physiotherapists and dieticians. Having all these people working in concert helps to deliver the best outcomes possible.

Cancers of the head and neck can arise from either the skin or the internal lining of the mouth, nose, sinuses, throat or airway. The glands of the head and neck may also give rise to cancers, including the parotid, submandibular and thyroid glands. Generally the cancers present with local symptoms related to pain or the sensation of a lump but occasionally the cancer can spread to lymph nodes and present as a lump in the neck. Symptoms to be aware of that may warrant further investigation include:

  • non-healing ulcers in the mouth
  • painful or difficult swallowing
  • change in voice
  • lump in neck

Typical risk factors for head and neck cancers can be separated depending on where they originate. For instance, both melanomatous and non-melanomatous skin cancers are related to excessive sun exposure and Queensland is recognized widely as the skin cancer capital of the world. Oral and throat cancers however are more so related to dietary and lifestyle factors such as tobacco smoking and alcohol. More recently viruses have also been implicated in the development of certain types of head and neck cancers and have tended to arise in young, healthy patients. It’s imperative to seek medical attention if you have any concerning symptoms as early detection is the key to improved outcomes.

Several of our surgeons sub-specialize in the management and treatment of head and neck cancers. Along with oncologists and allied health professionals, all aspects of the complex care of these patients is coordinated meticulously to maximize the outcomes for patients and support for patient’s families. Emphasis is placed on a multidisciplinary model that is coordinated in both the private sector as well as through the Gold Coast University Hospital.

They perform all aspects of head and neck surgery including resection of skin and mucosal cancers, removal of cancerous neck lymph nodes, and cancers of the glands such as the salivary glands (parotid and submandibular) and thyroid gland. 

Additionally, transoral robotic surgery (TORS) at John Flynn Private Hospital in Tugun is available.

 

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