The Head and Neck Cancer Center is a major provider for patients with early-stage, recurrent, or aggressive head and neck cancers. The nationally recognized team of multidisciplinary specialists who care for these patients collaborate to manage patient care from the first consultation through treatment and follow-up. They combine their expertise in patient care with state-of-the-art treatment options while actively participating in clinical trials to provide tomorrow’s treatments today.
For more information or to refer a patient, call 617.414.4913 or email HNC.Center@bmc.org. Patients with a diagnosis or strong suspicion of cancer are seen within 72 hours.
Conditions We Treat
- Cheek Cancer
- Ear/Temporal Bone Cancer
- Esophageal Cancer
- Gum Cancer
- Head And Neck Cancer
- Lip Cancer
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer
- Oropharyngeal Cancer
- Paranasal Sinus Cancer
- Parathyroid Cancer
- Salivary Gland Cancer
- Skin Cancer
- Skull Base Cancer
- Throat/Pharynx Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer
- Tongue Cancer
- Tonsil Cancer
- Voice Box (Laryngeal) Cancer
The goal of cancer surgery is to remove the cancerous tissue and a ring of normal tissue around it. The surgery may also include removing lymph nodes from the neck. Reconstructive plastic surgery may be needed if the cancer is widespread and requires extensive tissue removal. These may include surgery to the tongue, jawbone, facial skin, pharynx, or larynx. In cases such as this, tissue from other parts of the body, like the forearm or leg, can be transplanted to give patients the best possible cosmetic and functional outcomes.
Radiation uses special equipment to deliver high-energy particles, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells. Radiation (also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or x-ray therapy) can be delivered internally through seed implantation or externally using linear accelerators (called external beam radiotherapy, or EBRT).
External Beam Radiation Therapy
External beam radiation therapy is one of the most common types of radiation for cancer treatment. Radiation comes from a machine outside the body and delivers radiation to a specific location inside the body.
CyberKnife delivers highly targeted beams of radiation directly into tumors, in a pain-free, non-surgical way. Guided by specialized imaging software, we can track and continually adjust treatment at any point in the body, and without the need for the head frames and other equipment that are needed for some other forms of radiosurgery.
Chemotherapy is a medication or combination of medications used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy can be given orally (as a pill) or injected intravenously (IV).
For patients with advanced-stage melanoma, immunotherapy may improve the body’s natural immune response to cancer. Immunotherapy recruits the body’s own immune system and uses it to fight cancer all over the body, making it difficult for cancer cells to hide or develop defenses against it. Immunotherapy has the potential to keep working even after the patient has completed treatment.
Integrative medicine practices have been shown to reduce cancer-related symptoms such as pain, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. The Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Care Disparities in the Department of Family Medicine at BMC combines conventional medical treatments with evidence-based complementary therapies. Free therapeutic massage to decrease preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain in cancer patients undergoing surgical procedures is available. In the Moakley Building, where BMC conducts much of its cancer care, a registered yoga instructor holds free biweekly yoga classes, and a licensed acupuncturist offers free acupuncture to cancer patients. Participants in these sessions have gained notable clinical benefits, reporting decreases in pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. Services to individual patients complement group activities. Consultations that focus on stress management, nutrition, and coordination of complementary therapies are also available.
A laser is a very narrow focused beam of light. Laser surgery for cancer uses this beam of light to shrink or destroy cancer cells. It can also be used to remove a tumor without damaging the healthy tissue around it. This causes less pain, bleeding, infections, and scarring than other types of surgery or treatments.
BMC’s comprehensive Head and Neck Cancer Center of Excellence team includes physicians who work in head and neck surgical oncology and skull base surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, radiology, nuclear medicine, and speech language pathology. The team’s patient-centered, multidisciplinary approach assures each patient benefits from the collaborative expertise of physicians uniquely focused on their individual needs.
Head and Neck Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery Team
Medical Oncology Team
Radiation Oncology Team
Speech Language Pathology Team
Briana Pineau, MS, RD, LDN
BMC offers a number of clinical trials specifically for head and neck cancer patients. Promising new techniques in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with head and neck cancers are tested in these studies. The number and types of clinical trials available are constantly changing. View an up-to-date list of ongoing trials here. Those interested in participating in any clinical trials at BMC should talk with their physician.
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