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Head and Neck Cancer Program

Our multi-disciplinary experts in the Head and Neck Cancer Program at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), Tulsa, use innovative technologies to treat the disease while also helping patients manage side effects and improve quality of life. These advances are designed to reduce damage to healthy tissue and organs, helping to limit the severity of side effects that may diminish patients’ ability to swallow, eat, speak and perform other important everyday functions.

Cancers we treat

Head and neck cancers including:

Treating your cancer

Led by Beomjune B. Kim, DMD, MD, FACS, Director of Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction at CTCA® Tulsa, our multidisciplinary team of head and neck cancer experts work together, all under one roof, to develop a treatment plan tailored to each patient’s needs, communicating regularly and adjusting the treatment plan when necessary.

Using evidence-based medicine, your treatment plan  for head and neck cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or targeted therapy, either alone or in a combination of two or more.

Conventional treatment options

Surgery is typically the first line of treatment for this cancer. Its goal is to remove the tumor and affected surrounding tissue.

We offer the Flex® Robotic System, which allows the surgeon to access hard-to-reach areas of the throat in a minimally invasive way. The Flex Robotic System may lead to shorter recovery times, less pain and less damage to tissues and muscles critical to eating and other daily activities.

Our board-certified plastic surgeons also use a variety of technologies to repair areas of the head and neck using reconstructive microsurgery technologies. These procedures are designed to rebuild the nose, tongue or throat using tissues from other areas of the body. Patients who have had a laryngectomy to remove their voice box may also choose to undergo a tracheoesophageal puncture, which is used to help patients speak again.

Radiation therapy may be recommended to destroy cancer cells, shrink tumors and alleviate symptoms, using highly targeted X-rays or radioactive substances. Radiation for head and neck cancer patients may be used either as the main treatment or after surgery to kill microscopic disease. Brachytherapy, a form of radiation therapy, may be used during surgery to radiate small areas of cancer and reduce damage to healthy tissue.

Robotic radiosurgery, a non-invasive option for patients with inoperable or surgically complex tumors as an alternative to surgery, may also allow our radiation oncologists to deliver high doses of radiation to a targeted area.

Chemotherapy is often used to treat head and neck cancer patients when the disease has spread to the lungs or elsewhere in the body. The drugs are designed to help slow or stop the growth of cancer cells.

Precision cancer treatments

Every head and neck cancer is as different as the patient battling it. Each has genomic differences unique to that patient’s tumor. The tools of precision cancer treatment allow us to examine certain cancers at a cellular level in search of abnormalities that may be driving the cancer’s behavior, and if possible, match those mutations to drugs that are designed to target them. Options the team may recommend include:

Immunotherapy, which uses drugs to trigger the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. Checkpoint inhibitors are a type of immunotherapy designed to disrupt the signaling proteins that allow cancer cells to disguise themselves from the immune system.

Targeted therapy, which uses drugs that target a specific tumor behavior (Advanced genomic testing may be used to sequence the tumor’s DNA profile to help identify whether the tumor has mutations that may be targeted with existing drugs.)

After your treatment has ended, your head and neck cancer team will continue to follow up on your progress with scans, bloodwork and routine physical exams to monitor for cancer recurrence.

Meet our head and neck cancer team

The experts who make up the Head and Neck Cancer Program at CTCA Tulsa are committed to offering integrative, state-of-the-art treatments for head and neck cancer patients. Our Head and Neck Cancer Program includes board-certified cancer experts, including Beomjune B. Kim, DMD, MD, FACS, Director of Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction at CTCA Tulsa. Dr. Kim leads the program and has expertise in treating head and neck malignancies with advanced technologies and complex surgical techniques. Explore the links below to learn more about the entire team.

Beomjune-Kim

Beomjune B. Kim

Director of Head and Neck Surgery and Microvascular Reconstruction

Issam Alawin - Medical Oncologist

Issam Alawin

Medical Oncologist, CTCA Tulsa

Medical Director of Surgery and Breast Surgery and Medical Staff Secretary, CTCA Tulsa

Michael Thomas

Medical Director of Surgery and Breast Surgery and Medical Staff Secretary, CTCA Tulsa

Rola Eid - Medical Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery & Plastic Surgeon

Rola E. Eid

Medical Director of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, CTCA Tulsa

Timothy McCay - Medical Director of Imaging & Radiologist

Timothy McCay

Medical Director of Imaging & Radiologist, CTCA Tulsa

Integrative cancer care

Many head and neck cancer patients experience a variety of side effects. Our multidisciplinary care team works closely with patients to help anticipate, manage and, when possible, avoid cancer-related side effects. Side-effect management options for patients with head and neck cancer may include:

Nutrition therapy: Head and neck cancer and its treatment may make it difficult for patients to swallow. Our dietitians are available to develop nutrition plans to help patients stay strong during and after treatment.

Speech therapy: Our speech therapists work closely with head and neck cancer patients whose speech has been affected by radiation therapy or other surgeries or treatments. For patients who have received a tracheoesophageal puncture, our staff is trained to help if they need a speaking valve, a device placed on a tracheostomy tube that may allow patients to speak.

Surgical reconstruction: Reconstructive microsurgery or other flap techniques may be an option for patients whose disease or treatment affects their appearance.

Patients may also meet with additional supportive care experts, including a pain management physician, physical or occupational therapist, mind-body therapist and spiritual support provider.

"I met with my care team to evaluate my specific cancer and discuss treatment. Everyone was so warm, and made us feel safe and at peace. There is simply a wonderful atmosphere of togetherness at the hospital, and I knew it was where I wanted to go for treatment. Later, I learned that is one of the guiding principles of CTCA, the Mother Standard of care—to treat patients as you would any member of your own family."

Hector Nunez

Hector N.

Head and Neck Cancer

MORE ABOUT HECTOR

More About HECTOR

Where we are located

CTCA Tulsa

Head and Neck Cancer Program
10109 E. 79th St.
Tulsa, OK 74133

New Patients: 855-641-5086
Existing Patients: (918) 800-CTCA

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