Head and neck tumors include those of the mouth, throat, sinuses/nasal cavity, larynx, thyroid, and skull base. Some head and neck tumors are cancerous, while others are benign. Cancerous tumors must be treated promptly to reduce their chances of spreading (metastasizing) to other organs. Benign masses are not cancerous but can be serious if they impact nerves or place pressure in the head and neck and are therefore often removed surgically.
At Columbia Otolaryngology, our patients benefit from the extensive resources and talent available through all divisions of Columbia University Medical Center. Our surgeons collaborate closely with medical and radiation oncologists to customize the most appropriate plan of therapy for each patient's particular treatment needs. We are deeply committed to providing our patients with comprehensive, personal care from diagnosis to treatment, to rehabilitation and follow-up.
Minimally Invasive Approach
Our surgeons take a minimally invasive approach to head and neck cancer surgery whenever possible. We have pioneered endoscopic approaches to tumor removal that are performed without having to make any external incisions. For example, some early-stage and mid-stage tumors of the tongue base, tonsils, larynx, and pharynx can be removed through the mouth, while some skull base tumors may be removed through the nose. Such approaches reduce the need for tracheostomy or feeding tube after surgery and speed recovery.
Surgery for head and neck cancers can be disfiguring. Our head and neck reconstructive surgeons have specialized training and exceptional experience in facial reconstructive surgery. The goal of treatment is to provide therapy that is as effective as possible for eradicating the cancer while preserving your appearance and function, minimizing the effects on your quality of life.
We offer a full range of psychosocial, rehabilitation, and other support services for all patients with head and neck cancers and their families. Dietitians are available to ensure that you receive adequate nutrition during your care. Speech and swallowing therapists provide services when cancer or its treatment have impaired these functions. And dental oncologists treat any dental problems that are the result of head and neck cancer. We understand the difficult issues involved with the treatment of head and neck tumors and we are here to help.