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Head and Neck Cancer 

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Many people learn about head and neck cancer for the first time when they are told they will be treated for it. You, of course, wonder exactly what it is -- and how you will take care of yourself.  We can help you get started with your research right here, and refer you to more resources: The term “head and neck cancer” covers any cancer in the head or neck, such as the nasal cavity, skin, sinuses, lips, mouth, salivary glands, throat, thyroid or larynx.

The Sentara Cancer Network offers a regional referral center for the treatment of head and neck cancer, as well as the only dedicated head and neck oncology team in the Hampton Roads region. The team features two fellowship-trained surgical specialists, a dedicated microvascular reconstruction specialist, a dedicated pathologist, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, dentists, a licensed social worker, a dietician, and a dedicated oncology research nurse.  

A whole team will be working with you
While you will interact regularly with your doctor, you will also have a whole team recommending care. The Sentara Cancer Network Head and Neck team includes two fellowship-trained surgeons, a microvascular reconstruction specialist, a dedicated pathologist, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, neuroradiologists, dentists, a licensed social worker, a dietician and oncology research nurses. These experts talk with each other regularly and share information so that they can give patients the best care possible.

 Read more about the Sentara Cancer Network Head an Neck team in this Sentara Today blog post.

The newest technology benefits you
The Network also partners with Eastern Virginia Medical School head and neck surgeons and researchers to advance treatments. In 2010, they were the first in Virginia to introduce TransOral Robotic Surgery (TORS) at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. TORS is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for removing tumors in the throat and voice box (larynx). Instead of making an incision, the surgeons work through the patient’s mouth to remove tumors.

They use the da Vinci robotic surgical system with TORS, and the system makes it possible to see the area that needs surgery clearly and without making any
external surgical cuts. Patients appreciate this because there is less scarring, a lower risk of infection and blood transfusion, easier swallowing afterwards and a quicker return to everyday living. The Sentara Care Network will continue to seek out treatments like this so that you can benefit.  

Somewhere nearby for care
The Sentara Care Network offers patients several locations across Hampton Roads for radiation and chemotherapy treatments, making it convenient for you and your family. Major head and neck surgeries are performed by EVMS surgeons at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.  Wherever your home is located, you will find a care center close to you without having far to travel.       

Care that will comfort you
The American Cancer Society presented the Hospital Patient Services Award to the Sentara Care Network for outstanding support to core programs. Several of our facilities have won awards for exemplary patient services and support.

Our active Head and Neck support group offers emotional and educational support to patients and their families diagnosed with head and neck or oral cancers.  Download a full list of support groups, with meeting times and locations.

For more information about cancer care at Sentara, call 888-220-2214. This toll-free number is your link to cancer education, physician referrals, support groups and any other questions you may have.

Benefit from:

Original institutional research studies in head and neck cancer 

 Many multi-institutional clinical trials ongoing in head and neck cancer 

 Weekly multidisciplinary head and neck tumor conferences with 100 percent cancer patient presentation/discussion/treatment planning 

 Annual head and neck continuing medical education symposium for community physicians 

 Specialized in surgical management of head and neck cancers offering organ preservation.

Learn more about head and neck cancer

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