To ensure that you receive the best care, your doctor will arrange for a team of health professionals to plan your treatment and recommend treatment based on your preferences and needs.
The team will be made up of health professionals who have experience managing conditions such as head and neck cancers. Your doctor will tell you when the team will be discussing your case.
Your doctor should discuss the different treatment options with you including the likely outcomes, expected timeframes, possible side effects, and the risks and benefits. Your doctor may also suggest you consider taking part in a clinical trial. You might want ask for more time before deciding on your treatment, or ask for a second opinion.
Let your team know about any complementary therapies you are using or thinking about trying. Some therapies may not be appropriate, depending on your medical treatment.
There are a number of ways to treat head and neck cancers including surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. In some cases more than one type of treatment will be used to get the best outcome.
This is the treatment option for the majority of patients with head and neck cancers. It is important that this surgery is performed by a surgeon who is very experienced in performing head and neck cancer surgery and who performs several of these operations every year.
This is the treatment option for the majority of patients with head and neck cancers. This may be given after surgery, or if surgery is not suitable. It is usually combined with chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy or drug therapy
This may be given before or after surgery, usually with radiation therapy.
For more information about treatment and treatment side effects ask your doctor or visit www.cancer.org.au/about-cancer/treatment. Your doctor should discuss your needs with you during and after treatment (including physical, psychological, social and information) and may refer you to another service or health professional for different aspects of your care. It is particularly important that you have access to a dietitian and a speech pathologist during your treatment.