If you’ve been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, we know how overwhelming that can be. That’s why at Central Maine Healthcare, we combine compassionate care with the most advanced technology available to help you fight cancer with confidence.
Full Range of Head and Neck Cancer Treatments
Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center (CMCCC) offers a comprehensive spectrum of cancer care for patients with cancers of the head and neck. This includes thyroid, salivary glands, nose, mouth, facial, skin and neck tumors or lesions.
Physicians at the Central Maine Medical Group Otolaryngology practice (better known as Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), or Head and Neck) specialize in state-of-the-art medical care and surgical options. Our team includes some of the region’s leading cancer specialists: medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, highly trained nurses, dietitians, social workers and more. Together they will work with you to create the best possible treatment plan.
Your Personalized Treatment Plan
Treatment of head and neck cancer depends on many factors, including the type and stage of the cancer (early or advanced), how treatment will affect the way you talk, breathe or eat, your overall health and your personal feelings about certain treatments and possible side effects.
Your personal treatment plan may include one or a combination of:
Surgery may be used to take out the cancer and a margin of healthy tissue around it. In some cases, all or part of the tongue, throat, voice box wind pipe, or jaw bone may need to be removed. Surgery may also be used to take out lymph nodes in the neck which may harbor metastatic cancer. Our team includes a plastic surgeon who offers reconstructive and plastic surgery, following surgical procedures.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays (like x-rays) to shrink or kill cancer cells and help prevent recurrence of the disease. CMCCC uses the most advanced radiation technology available to treat head and neck cancer. Options include:
External beam radiation therapy (EBRT): In EBRT, beams of radiation are focused on the tumor from a machine outside the body called a linear accelerator.
Because head and neck cancers are close to other critical body structures, getting a clear view of the areas during radiation therapy is critical. CMCCC uses the groundbreaking Versa HD accelerator to plan and deliver high-dose radiation with unmatched precision. The result is faster, more effective treatments that minimize the impact on healthy, surrounding areas.
Internal radiation therapy: Also called brachytherapy, this minor outpatient procedure involves implanting tiny radioactive seeds close to the tumor. These seeds, about the size of a grain of rice, remain in place and give off radiation to the tumor site for weeks or months.
Chemotherapy is used to kill cancer cells with powerful medicines delivered in varied cycles through either an IV or a pill. It may be used to shrink a tumor before surgery, to kill cancer cells that remain in the body after surgery or radiation, to treat tumors that have developed in other areas or to relieve symptoms when the cancer cannot be cured. Whenever possible, Central Maine Comprehensive Cancer Center uses newer medications that help maximize results and minimize side effects.
Recent FDA-approved drug therapies give people the ability to fight head and neck cancer using the body’s natural defense mechanism: the immune system. Immunotherapy works by making hidden cancer calls visible to the immune system, allowing white blood cells to fight and kill the cancer.