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What health professionals treat head and neck cancers?

Head and neck cancers may require a multidisciplinary approach. Removal of the cancer may involve an otolaryngologist who focuses on cancer. Reconstruction would require a plastic surgeon (potentially one who is trained in microvascular reconstruction techniques). A radiation oncologist may also be necessary to administer adjuvant therapies. Where appropriate, a medical oncologist may also be involved. Where defects involving the voice box (larynx), tongue, esophagus, or mandible are involved, a speech pathologist and/or occupation therapist are necessary. A nutritionist can also be a vital member of the treatment team to assist with monitoring adequate feeding to avoid becoming dehydrated and malnourished.

Patients with head and neck cancers are best treated by a team of specialists. The specialists vary, depending on the location and extent of the cancer. The medical team may include oral surgeons; ear, nose, and throat surgeons (also called otolaryngologists); pathologists; medical oncologists; radiation oncologists; prosthodontists; dentists; plastic surgeons; dietitians; social workers; nurses; physical therapists; and speech-language pathologists (sometimes called speech therapists).

This answer is based on source information from the National Cancer Institute.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.