Treatment Options

At the Yale Head and Neck Program, we use the most advanced surgical techniques and reconstructive breakthroughs available. Our internationally renowned team of surgeons and specialists will create a comprehensive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs and unique condition. 

We understand that treating the cancer is as important as preserving the delicate structures of the head and neck. Our goal is to remove the cancerous tissue while maintaining as much normal function and appearance as possible.  

Advanced, Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques

Our surgeons are highly trained in minimally invasive surgeries that preserve nerves, arteries, and muscles in the head and neck. In most cases, our patients can continue to move, speak, breathe, and eat normally after surgery.

Patients with certain throat cancers can now benefit from a less invasive surgery called a supraglottic laryngectomy, which preserves the critical structures of their vocal cords and their voices. One of the most exciting new surgical advances is the use of laser surgery, also used to remove certain throat cancers without the need for any open incisions. 

Reconstructive Surgery

When the delicate and critical structures of the head and neck cannot be preserved, our surgeons use the latest breakthroughs in reconstructive surgery to dramatically improve cosmetic and functional outcomes. 

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services

Although we do everything possible to avoid interfering with speech and swallowing, some advanced and complex cancers may compromise the structures of the voice box, esophagus, and other structures responsible in speaking and eating. Our rehabilitative specialists in hearing, speech, and swallowing help patients adjust to and overcome any differences after surgery. 

Advanced Radiation Treatment Technology

Our team of radiation oncologists at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven uses the latest radiation technology, including intensity modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and brachytherapy.   

IMRT can be used for inoperable cancers or in conjunction with surgery. IMRT allows oncologists to target the tumor with high-dose radiation while either eliminating or substantially decreasing the dose of radiation to normal tissues. 

Brachytherapy is an innovative technique that allows for the implantation of small radioactive seeds into or in close proximity to a tumor. This therapy can provide radiation to tumors in a very specific and controlled way. Brachytherapy, combined with external radiation therapy, can be used to treat inoperable head and neck cancers. 

These new approaches can often preserve the ability to speak and swallow normally, even in patients with advanced cancer.

Chemotherapy

Patients who receive chemotherapy with radiation have a decreased risk of distant tumor spread. They experience both prolonged disease-free survival and prolonged overall survival. Our team of medical oncologists at Smilow Cancer Hospital at Yale-New Haven are among the best in their field.

We understand that a diagnosis of head and neck cancer can feel overwhelming; you probably have many questions about your cancer and your treatment process. At the Yale Head and Neck Cancer Program, we take the time to address all your questions and concerns so that you can feel comfortable every step of the way.