A 21-year-old member asked:
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since surgery is a frequently used in treating head and neck cancers, is there a risk of disfigurement?

5 doctor answers
Dr. Ritesh Rathore
29 years experience Hematology and Oncology
Yes: Unfortunately certain surgeries such as neck dissection, lip surgery, etc. Carry the risk of disfigurement. Discussing planned surgery with your surgeon and reconstructive options such as plastic surgery consultation is important. Certain surgeries can be avoided and treatment with combined chemotherapy & radiotherapy can be done instead.
Answered on Apr 12, 2015
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Dr. Charles Breaux
38 years experience Pediatric Surgery
Yes: You want to have an experienced surgeon who's "been there" many times before and can do the best job balancing doing a good cancer operation to rid you of disease with the least amount of collateral damage or disfigurement. In addition, a plastic surgeon sometimes participates in cases for expert reconstruction after a big cancer operation. Discuss this thoroughly with your head and neck surgeon.
Answered on Oct 24, 2017
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Dr. Hassan Arshad
15 years experience ENT and Head and Neck Surgery
Depends on surgery : The risk for disfigurement depends on the extent of the surgery. With modern advances in head and neck reconstruction, we have very good methods to fix the defect that the cancer removal causes. Non-surgical treatment options, while avoiding the risks of surgery, carry their own set of complications. Your head and neck surgeon should be able to help you with the various options.
Answered on Apr 12, 2015
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Dr. Louis Gallia
44 years experience Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Yes: Yes, significant risk, depending on the area of the cancer. The best way to treat these cancers would be at a major medical center, where cancer resection and reconstruction can often be done during the same procedure. In your area - Stanford Medical Center.
Answered on Nov 28, 2017
Dr. Paul Grin
Dr. Paul Grin answered
35 years experience Pain Management
Unfortunately, yes: It is important that all cancerous tissue be removed to prevent recurrence, thus the removal of tumors can result in cosmetic (disfigurement) and functional (speech, swallowing and chewing) problems for patients.
Answered on Apr 13, 2015

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Dr. Ritesh Rathore
29 years experience Hematology and Oncology
Chemo, Radiation: Besides surgery, radiation and chemotherapy are typically used. Radiation is used in both early as well advanced cancers while chemotherapy is used in ... Read More
A 24-year-old member asked:
Dr. Rodney Diaz
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Depends: Generally not as good as if all the cancer were removed. This one is highly variable based on the exact type of head and neck cancer, its stage, wher ... Read More
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A 32-year-old member asked:
Dr. Dennis Diaz
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Depends: Depends on the what structures are being operated on and how much reconstruction needs to be done. Extensive surgery involving the tongue, base of to ... Read More
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A 34-year-old male asked:
Dr. Aylwin david Nathaniel
Specializes in General Practice
Months: During the procedure, some of the nerves can be damaged. Might take a few months to return Kind Regards Dr Aylwin David Nathaniel
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