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Head & Neck Cancer Archive Questions

Below are Dr. Strome’s answers to Head & Neck Cancer questions
received through the Ask the Expert feature.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and is not intended
to be a substitute for individual medical advice in diagnosing or treating a
health problem. Please consult with your physician about your specific health
care concerns.



Now displaying records 1 to 15 of 29.

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Q : 1

03/09/2012
Is there a cure for acinic cell carcinoma of the parotid gland? Are there treatments that have been successful?

This depends on the stage at presentation. Early stage cancers can often be cured with surgical resection. Later stage cancers may require additional treatments.


Q : 2

12/20/2011
I was just told that the lump on my thyroid is cancer, but I have to wait two weeks for surgery. Is that too long?

If this is a papillary cancer, I do not believe a two week interval will make a difference in your outcome unless you are having difficulty breathing, swallowing etc. If you are experiencing these symptoms, you should discuss them with your surgeon.


Q : 3

11/12/2011
What is the recommended treatment for branchial cleft cysts?

The answer depends on the type of cyst and where it is located. You should be evaluated to ensure that you're given the most accurate response for your case.


Q : 4

07/13/2011
I was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the mouth, under my tongue. I had surgery in January followed by radiation in addition to having a salivary gland removed. Is there a good saliva substitute? How long is recovery time for this type of problem?

Unfortunately, xerostomia or dryness of the mouth, is an exceptionally difficult problem to treat in the post radiation setting. I am not aware of any good salivary substitute.


Q : 5

04/27/2011
I have Tonsil cancer (Squamous Cell), I would like to know more about photodynamic therapy and how it uses laser light to kill cancer. Do you have any information about this treatment?

Unfortunately, we no longer perform photodynamic therapy as a treatment for cancer of the tonsils. You should speak with your oncologist to discuss other possible treatment options.


Q : 6

02/11/2011
My husband is in the middle of being diagnosed for a tumor on the right side of his neck. A needle biopsy showed atypical keratinized cells, squamous "pearl," basaloid cells, and squamous lesion. Could he potentially benefit from your work with the Trojan Peptid and Andridic vaccine?

This vaccine is primarily being tested on patients who have metastatic and/or unresectable disease. If he has a new diagnosis, your husband is probably best served with standard therapy.


Q : 7

11/09/2010
I completed concurrent chemo and radiation for head and neck cancer 22 months ago. The cancer was called unknown primary as the original site could not be identified. Is it appropriate to have a PET/CT scan performed during the surveillance period? If so, how often and for how long?

We usually perform routine PET scans on folks with carcinomas of unknown primary. I would check the tumor for EBV and HPV as that could provide clues as to where it originated. The timing of the PET is not standardized and you should discuss with your treatment team.


Q : 8

10/19/2010
Are there advanced treatments available for medullary thyroid carcinoma? My fiancee underwent a total thyrodectomy and the biopsy report came as MTC (cancerous) confined to thyroid gland, Grade-I. What is the best course of treatment for this disease?

Please look on the American Thyroid Association Web site as they have an excellent pamphlet on medullary thyroid carcinoma which can guide you and your physicians.


Q : 9

07/14/2010
How common is adenoid cystic carcinoma and what is the best treatment?

This is a relatively uncommon cancer of the salivary glands. Surgery is usually the first step depending on location etc. If you need help, please call the office at 410 328 6467 and I would be happy to see you.


Q : 10

06/14/2010
Does your hospital perform laser surgery for larynx cancer?

Absolutely. Please call 410 528 6467 if you are interested in making an appointment or visit this link for more information on surgical treatments for cancer of the larynx: http://www.umgcc.org/head_neck_program/laryn-stages.htm#surg.


Q : 11

04/15/2010
I have tentatively been diagnosed with papillary carcinoma of the thyroid. How great is the risk of damage to the vocal cords when a thyroidectomy is performed?

The risk is relatively low but depends on the extent of disease and the experience of the surgeon. I would recommend going with an experienced ENT who does these often.


Q : 12

03/25/2010
I've been diagnosed with papillary thyroid carcinoma (18x21x25mm). The lump has been on my neck for almost 12 years with no symptoms. Can I get the treatment without surgery? How does the radioactive iodine affect the body and what are the side effects? In your opinion, is surgery the best option?

Surgical resection is generally the best option for this disease but you need to make this decision with your surgeon and endocrinologist.


Q : 13

10/08/2009
My sister, 24, was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma of the thyroid with local lymph node metastasis 6 years ago. She underwent hemithyroidectomy of the left lobe of thyroid. She has been on daily thyroxine replacement since then and is doing well. Now her USG neck test revealed swelling in the left side with enlarged lymph nodes. Could this be a recurrence of the papillary carcinoma? What should the next step be in the treatment process?

This should be evaluated by needle biopsy and if the result is positive I would recommend resection of the remaining thyroid tissue as well as the nodes. She would then likely be a candidate for radioactive iodine and thyroid suppression. This should be discussed with her surgeon and endocrinology team.


Q : 14

07/13/2009
I have a lump on my thyroid which was found 2 years ago, but was dismissed as a goiter. Then it measured at 23mm/40mm and now it measures at 37mm/20mm, has microcalcifications and increased blood supply. I am having it removed so it can be determined whether or not the growth is benign or malignant. Is there a great chance that it is malignant?

Since your growth has microcalcifications and high blood flow, it is very important to have it surgically removed so that an accurate diagnosis can be made.


Q : 15

06/17/2009
My husband had a total thyroidectomy for papillary carcinoma of the thyroid. The surgeon says both vocal cord nerves were identified and preserved, but that the right side had been stretched. My husband is now 3 weeks post-op and has no movement of the right vocal cord and minimal movement of the left. Is there any chance that one or both will not improve?

Yes, there is still a chance that both will improve. That said, I would suggest getting a test called a Laryngeal EMG to see if there is any activity that may show signs of recovery.


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