Head and Neck Surgery, Diagnosis and Treatment
The Department of Otolaryngology at Sheba Medical Center provides comprehensive diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of head and neck disorders. The services offered include everything from cochlear implants to surgery on the base of the skull. This department is also responsible for the surgical neck cancer treatment.
Our world class surgeons work hand in hand with expert medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, neuroradiologists, and support staff to offer each of our patients personalized, tailor-made medicine. Although our Department of Otolaryngology is only a single part of our integrative treatment team, it is a vital piece of our holistic approach to neck cancer treatment.
The types of cancer below are generally rare, comprising only three percent of all cancer cases in the United States. However, Sheba Medical Center is dedicated to providing world class medicine with a personal touch to all our patients, regardless of their cancer type.
Types of Head and Neck Cancers
The different kinds of head and neck cancers include:
The oral cavity, also known as the buccal cavity, is simply the mouth. Cancers here may originate in the tongue, cheeks, gums, or the hard palate.
The pharynx is the medical term for the throat. It is separate from both the esophagus (food pipe) and trachea (windpipe). The pharynx is made up of the nasopharynx, behind the nose, the oropharynx, the back of the mouth, and the hypopharynx that goes down into the neck.
This includes the area inside the nose as well as the sinuses situated to either side of the nose.
The larynx is the medical term for the voice box and includes the vocal cords and epiglottis.
The salivary glands produce saliva and are located in several areas within the mouth.
Neck Cancer Treatment Risk Factors
There are several risk factors for head and neck cancers. Some are lifestyle habits while others are not controllable. The risk factors include:
- Alcohol and tobacco use – This is the largest preventable risk factor for developing cancers of the head and neck.
- Other substance use – such as chewing betel nuts, popular in Southeast Asia
- Radiation exposure
- Epstein-Barr virus infection
- Poor oral care
- East Asian ancestry
The symptoms of various head and neck cancers include:
- Lips and oral cavity – pain, swelling, or bleeding within the mouth, and/or red or white patches on the gums or tongue.
- Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses – chronic and frequent sinus infections, swelling in the sinuses, frequent nosebleeds.
- Salivary glands – Swelling in the neck or around the jaw, numbness and tingling in the mouth or jaw.
- Pharynx – Trouble swallowing, decreased hearing acuity, ringing in the ears, or swelling in the neck.
- Larynx – Otalgia (ear pain) and dysphagia (pain or difficulty with swallowing).
Neck Cancer Treatment in Israel
A vital part of complete cancer treatment and comprehensive medical care is restoring the patient to their previous whole self. Cancers of the head and neck can leave major structural and cosmetic defects. Therefore, Sheba Medical Center has a team of plastic surgeons, head and neck surgeons, and maxillofacial surgeons dedicated to reconstructive surgery for our cancer patients.
Not only can these surgeons often restore a patient’s appearance but also their full function. This is done in the form of voice and airway reconstruction. In addition, Sheba possesses an outpatient Facial Nerve Rehabilitation Clinic that offers therapy for patients with facial nerve paralysis, whether resulting from cancer or some other cause.
Dr. Eran Alon, MD
Director, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology Service
Dr. Alon received his medical degree from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors. Dr. Alon has a unique specialty in head and neck oncology and microvascular reconstructive surgery of the face, head and neck.
Dr. Eran Alon, MD
Prof. Zvi Symon
The Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology
He is an expert in radiosurgery, radiation oncology, stereotactic radiation therapy, and radiotherapy for many forms of cancer. Prof. Symon has specialized in both Internal Medicine and Radiation Oncology.
He is a faculty member of the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University and has undergone training at Hadassah Hospital, Sheba Medical Center, and other prestigious facilities.