Head & Neck Cancer Care in Dallas

Advanced Treatment & Surgery Cancer Services

The Head and Neck Surgical Oncology program at Methodist Dallas offers patients comprehensive and collaborative care for various head and neck cancers. We support our patients from every stage of treatment, from initial diagnosis to post-cancer recovery. Once a diagnosis is reached, physicians at Methodist Dallas begin the appropriate course of treatment for each patient, which could include advanced surgical procedures to remove the cancer all at once.

Following treatment, rehabilitation professionals help patients return to normal life. Speech language pathologists, dietitians, and other rehabilitation team members assist with speech, nutrition, and general wellness through this process.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

The nasopharynx refers to the area behind the nasal cavity, in the upper portion of the throat. Nasopharyngeal cancer is often detected after it spreads to lymph nodes in the neck, resulting in possible:

  • Neck mass
  • Hearing loss
  • Nasal obstruction
  • Nosebleeds

A biopsy of the tissue in the nasopharynx is often needed for diagnosis. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy are the primary treatment for most nasopharyngeal cancers. Surgery is reserved for cases that fail radiation therapy.

Oropharyngeal Cancer

The oropharynx is the area at the back of the throat. It consists of the tonsils, the base of the tongue, and the back wall of the throat. The majority of oropharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), the most common type of cancer overall in the head and neck. These tumors often present with:

  • Neck masses
  • Pain or bleeding in the throat
  • Hearing loss
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Treatment for oropharyngeal cancer can include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and/or surgery. Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) has gained popularity recently as a minimally invasive surgery technique for the removal of these tumors, usually at an early stage.

Laryngeal Cancer

The majority of laryngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC), the most common type of cancer overall in the head and neck. These tumors often present at an early stage with hoarseness. Other signs and symptoms can include a:

  • Neck mass
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Throat pain
  • Ear pain

Treatment for laryngeal cancer can include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. Surgery is reserved for early stage tumors, or for late stage tumors which require a laryngectomy (removal of the voice box).

Hypopharynx Cancer

The hypopharynx refers to the area at the bottom of the throat that is next to and behind the voicebox. As a result of the location of these tumors, they are often detected at an advanced stage. Signs and symptoms of hypopharyngeal cancer include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat pain
  • Ear pain
  • Neck mass

Treatment for hypopharyngeal cancer can include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery. Surgery is usually reserved for late stage tumors which require a laryngectomy (removal of the voice box) and extensive reconstructions of the throat.

Sinonasal Cancer

Sinonasal cancer refers to cancers of the nasal cavity and sinuses. There are a wide variety of subtypes of sinonasal cancer. As a result of their location these tumors can invade into the brain, eye, or mouth. Signs and symptoms of sinonasal cancer include:

  • Nasal obstruction
  • Nosebleeds, neck mass
  • Facial swelling
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes

Treatment for these cancers involves surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can be used in addition to surgery or alone in cases where surgery is not possible. Surgery may require a team approach if these tumors invade the orbit or the brain; otolaryngologists – head and neck surgeons often work with neurosurgeons or oculoplastic surgeons to address these lesions.

Oral Cancer

Cancers of the oral cavity are most often caused by smoking and alcohol intake, but a small percentage are caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). Signs and symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Throat pain
  • Ear pain
  • Neck mass

Treatment for oral cancer usually begins with surgery. Early stage cancers can be extracted without major reconstructive surgery, while more advanced cancers often require reconstruction with microvascular free tissue transfer, where skin and/or bone is harvested from other parts of the body and used to reconstruct the missing oral tissue. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can occasionally be used as primary treatment, but are more often used in addition to surgery.