Einstein’s team of medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists, radiologists and nurse navigators are experts in diagnosing and treating a wide variety of head and neck cancers, including:
Once your doctors have diagnosed your condition, they will meet to discuss your case and develop treatment recommendations, providing comprehensive, coordinated care. During your treatment, your doctors will continue to get regular updates on your progress, and they may recommend adjustments to your treatment plan depending on how the cancer is responding, and if there are any other concerns.
Radiation therapy can be used to eliminate small tumors, and shrink larger tumors, while doing minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissue. Einstein uses some of the most advanced technology available to deliver extremely precise doses of radiation, including the Varian TrueBeam® and Varian Trilogy® linear accelerators.
A common treatment for many types of cancer, radiation therapy targets cancer cells with beams of cancer-killing radiation. At Einstein, we use highly advanced technology to deliver extremely precise doses of radiation, including the Varian TrueBream® linear accelerator (LINAC), which is available at Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia, and the Varian Trilogy®, which is available in both Philadelphia and Montgomery.
By creating a 3D map of the cancer using a variety of advanced imaging systems, we are able to guide the radiation beam with an incredible degree of accuracy, minimizing damage to the healthy tissue surrounding the tumor. The most common form of radiation therapy is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), or stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) when targeting tumors in the brain. However, other types of advanced radiation therapy are also available at Einstein:
Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT) – This type of radiation therapy allows your doctor to adjust the radiation beam as the tumor moves during treatment, which is especially useful for tumors in areas such as the lung.
Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy – This type of radiation therapy uses multiple small beams of varying intensities that can change shape during the treatment, helping to deliver higher, more precise doses of radiation with fewer side effects.
RapidArc® Radiation Therapy – One of the fastest and most precise radiation treatments available is RapidArc®, which can deliver the same amount of radiation but up to eight times faster than other leading cancer treatments.
Instead of using a beam of radiation, you may have the option of having small radioactive “seeds” implanted into your tumor. This allows for higher, more precise doses of radiation than would be possible with other types of radiation therapy, usually resulting in fewer side effects and shorter treatment times.
Depending on the size, location and stage of your cancer, as well as other factors, surgical removal may be the best option. Our surgeons use video-assisted techniques and the most minimally invasive procedures possible to remove the cancer without damaging healthy tissue.
Other types of therapy that your doctor may recommend, usually in addition to radiation therapy and surgical options, include chemotherapy and immunotherapy, which is also known as biological therapy.
Chemotherapy drugs target and kill dividing cells, which makes them an effective treatment against cancer because cancer cells divide much more often than most normal types of cells.
Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy or surgery, and can target cancer cells that may have been missed by other treatments or have spread to other areas of the body.
Your individual chemotherapy treatment plan will vary based on the type of cancer you have, where it is in your body, your overall health and other factors. A typical treatment plan may include four to eight rounds of chemotherapy, with several treatments per round, followed by a recovery period of two to four weeks. Most chemotherapy drugs are administered intravenously on an outpatient basis, but you may also have the option of taking tablets or capsules.
Biologic therapies are treatments that help your body’s immune system identify and attack cancer cells. This may include taking cancer-fighting T-cells from your tumor and growing large batches of them in the lab. Other types of immunotherapy include drugs called checkpoint inhibitors, which block proteins that stop the immune system from targeting cancer cells, and monoclonal antibodies, which are proteins that attach themselves to cancer cells to signal the immune system to target them.
To learn more about your head and neck cancer treatment options, or to get a second opinion, schedule a consultation with an Einstein specialist.