Head and Neck Surgery

Otolaryngologists are involved in the treatment of a large number of tumors in the head and neck area, both benign (noncancerous) and malignant (cancerous).   Not only do they remove the cancers surgically, but they also participate in teams of providers that treat cancers in other ways.

The 3 main treatments for cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.  Depending on location, size, tumor biology and prior treatments, a person may need one, two, or a combination of all three modalities.  Care is coordinated by a group of specialists called a tumor board.  During this meeting the medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and surgeons, along with radiologists, pathologists, speech therapists, nurses, and social workers discuss cases and develop treatment plans they feel are best for the person.  Goals of treatment are cure of the disease with maintenance of quality of life.  Sometimes treatment cannot cure the cancer, and the goal changes to maintenance of quality of life and comfort care.

Head and neck oncologic surgeons deal with tumors of the mouth, tongue, throat, larynx, thyroid, skin, nose, sinuses, ears, and salivary glands.  Dr. Wolfe did a fellowship in oncologic surgery and participates regularly in tumor boards.