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Renowned head and neck cancer care

March 17, 2014

Head and neck surgeons at Duke Raleigh provide advanced head and neck cancer treatment to Wake County residents. “We bring the expertise, reputation, and resources of the Duke Cancer Institute to the comfortable and personable setting of Duke Raleigh Hospital,” says Ramon Esclamado, MD. “We want to give this community access to the highest quality cancer care more conveniently located near their home.”

Stronger Together

Tumors in the head and neck can be some of the most challenging tumors to treat. Their precarious locations are often difficult to access surgically without risking cosmetic or functional damage to the surrounding facial and sensory structures. The Duke Cancer Institute’s team of head and neck surgeons collaborates with existing experts in radiation and chemotherapy at Duke Raleigh to provide a multidisciplinary, comprehensive treatment approach that preserves function and improves outcomes.

“Treating head and neck tumors is never one-size-fits-all,” Dr. Esclamado says. “A cancer of the voice box is different from a thyroid tumor or a salivary gland tumor. Achieving the ideal outcome often requires a group of different specialists working together to develop the most effective treatment plan and deliver the best care tailored to individual patients.”

In addition to radiation therapy, chemotherapy and surgery, the head and neck cancer program at Duke Raleigh also includes speech pathology for follow-up care after surgery. These specialists provide speech and swallowing therapy and voice rehabilitation to help restore function that is impaired as a consequence of treating the cancer. 

A Closer Look at Neck Tumors

The incidence of endocrine neck tumors—masses located in the thyroid, parathyroid or salivary glands—has risen dramatically in recent years. According to Dr. Esclamado, diagnoses of these neck tumors have nearly tripled in the last two decades alone. While these tumors are often benign, they can grow large enough to limit swallowing and vocal function and may cause nerve damage, cosmetic changes and hormonal imbalances.

“My colleagues and I have a wealth of experience and expertise in treating these types of tumors,” he says. “Many innovations that we have helped pioneer over the past 25 years, including advances in surgical techniques for function-preserving comprehensive neck dissection, larynx and tracheal reconstruction, and procedures in voice restoration, are being utilized to improve quality of life for patients with more difficult and advanced thyroid cancer. We will also coordinate with local endocrinologists to ensure convenient follow-up care after surgery.”

The head and neck cancer team at Duke Raleigh Hospital also treats the entire spectrum of tumors found in the head and neck area, including:

  • Advanced skin cancer
  • Lips
  • Mouth
  • Nasal cavity
  • Salivary glands
  • Sinuses
  • Throat (pharynx and upper esophagus)
  • Voice box