Cancers of the head and neck are rare, however when they do occur they require specialist management. These cancers may occur in the mouth, nose, sinuses or throat, including the tonsils, back of the tongue, voice box (larynx) or swallowing passage (hypopharynx and oesophagus).
Head and neck cancers are typically caused by smoking and alcohol. More recently, tumours of the tonsils and tongue base have been associated with a virus, the same virus that causes cervical cancer in women (human papilloma virus).
The symptoms of these cancers can be varied but the presence of any of the following should prompt a thorough assessment by an ENT surgeon who specializes in head and neck cancer:
The treatment of these cancers can be complex and it requires input from many doctors- surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists and pathologists. I am the current chairman of the Royal Adelaide Hospital multi-disciplinary team for the management of head and neck cancers and also a member of the St Andrew’s Hospital head and neck cancer multi-disciplinary team. I present all of the cancer patients I treat at these meetings and provide advice to other treating doctors about their cases as well.
We are currently in unchartered waters with the COVID-19 pandemic. At ENTSA we are, as always, committed to the health and wellbeing of our staff and our patients. Ear, nose and throat examinations and surgery however are considered extremely high risk for virus transmission and so we are making changes in our practice.
The current recommendations from the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery (ASOHNS) are:
As a result of this, our practice is changing. We are still here to care for new and existing patients. We have established a Telehealth system to enable continuity of care for existing patients and a ‘non-contact’ option for new patients to access an initial assessment and commencement of treatment.
Please call us to discuss Telehealth options on: (08) 7200 2539
We will still see some patients in the office however this will be limited to protect the health of you and our staff.
If you attend, we ask you to comply with the following: