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Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

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.

brain cancer

Types of Head and Neck Cancers

The different kinds of head and neck cancers include:

Cancers Of The Lips And Oral Cavity:

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.

Cancer Of The Pharynx

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.

Cancers Of The Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinuses:

This includes the area inside the nose as well as the sinuses situated to either side of the nose.

Cancer Of The Larynx:

The larynx is the medical term for the voice box and includes the vocal cords and epiglottis.

Cancer Of The Salivary Glands

The salivary glands produce saliva and are located in several areas within the mouth.

Neck cancer

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

At Sheba Medical Center, cancers of the head and neck are addressed by our team consisting of some of the top surgeons in Israel and the world, along with medical and radiation oncologists. Although the exact treatment is dependent upon the location of the cancer, how far the cancer has progressed, and the patient’s unique situation, most head and neck cancers are treated surgically in their early stages. This means the goal of neck cancer treatment is the removal of the tumor(s) through surgery.

The cancer stage can be evaluated through a combination of physical examination, pathologic examination after biopsy or aspiration, and by diagnostic imaging techniques. At Sheba, these techniques include CT scans as well as some of the most advanced PET scans available in the world.

If deemed appropriate by the diagnosis, other therapies may be used, including radiation therapy, both external beam and with implantable radioactive material, and chemotherapy. In addition, Sheba Medical Center offers the latest in cutting edge robotic surgery and sentinel lymph node biopsies.

Other revolutionary procedures being performed at Sheba include endoscopic surgery of the salivary glands. While this procedure can be used for a variety of salivary gland issues, it may also be employed as a treatment for salivary gland cancer. Also, Sheba has a team of head and neck surgeons who specialize in surgery to the skull base. These procedures are able to access skull base tumors without intruding into the brain, reducing patient risk and maximizing positive outcomes.

Reconstructive Surgery

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.

Our Staff

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.
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Zvi Symon
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.
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Sheba Medical Center provides innovative, personalized medical care to patients from around the world. We are the largest, most comprehensive hospital in the Middle East and dedicated to providing advanced and compassionate medicine for everyone.

We welcome all cases, including the rarest and the most challenging. Our medical teams collaborate to provide the best possible health outcomes. From your initial inquiry through the long-term follow-up care, we are here for you.

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