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What are the side effects of surgery for my head and neck cancer?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

The side effects of surgery for head and neck cancer depend on the location of the cancer and the type and extent of surgery. Surgery in the mouth, throat, or larynx (voice box) tends to cause the most disruption of function: speech, chewing, swallowing, and breathing can all be impaired, either temporarily or permanently. Disfigurement may also occur with head and neck surgery, especially when a significant amount of tumor tissue is removed. It is often possible to restore function and appearance to relatively normal levels by the use of artificial devices and reconstructive surgery. When the larynx is removed in laryngectomy, the thyroid gland may also be disrupted, so hypothyroidism can result.

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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.