Providing Care Close to Home
Our ENT oncology head and neck cancer physicians provide comprehensive, personalized evaluations and treatment for benign and malignant tumors.
To schedule an appointment with Albany Medical Center, call 518-262-5575.
Conditions We Treat
- Head and neck cancers
- Thyroid cancer
- Larynx cancer
- Advanced skin cancer
- Tonsil cancer
- Oral cavity cancer
- Tongue cancer
- Neck masses
- Parathyroid disorders
- Salivary gland cancer and tumors
Most skin cancers are readily managed by dermatologists and MOHS surgeons (a special technique involving periodic biopsy sampling of the surgery site). Less commonly, skin cancers are far advanced making it difficult to obtain adequate clearance of the tumor. Head and neck surgeons may be called upon in these cases to obtain clear margins around the tumor and manage nearby lymph nodes. A medical oncologist is part of the treatment team. For patients with melanoma, therapy may also involve chemotherapy or immunotherapy. Radiation is sometimes used after surgery.
Beyond curing the patient of laryngeal cancer our team of specialists prioritizes voice and swallowing outcomes. A speech and swallowing therapist is commonly involved in the recovery process.
Surgeries for early stage tumors are often brief with excellent cure rates. Surgery for large and advanced laryngeal tumors may require a skin incision to help remove part or the entire larynx. Removal of the larynx is called a total laryngectomy and the regional lymph nodes are also removed at the same time using a procedure called a neck dissection. Often patients need healthy skin, muscle, and blood vessels transferred to the area where the tumor was removed, so as to reconstruct the throat. That procedure is called a free flap or regional flap surgery.
Radiation treatment alone can be used to treat early stage laryngeal cancers with excellent cure rates.
Chemotherapy plus radiation can be used to treat some patients with advanced laryngeal cancer. This approach is used when surgery is not possible or when the patient desires and is appropriate for laryngeal conservation.
Viruses such as mononucleosis can cause swollen neck lymph nodes, and these conditions resolve without treatment.
Bacterial infections may need to be treated with antibiotics. Systemic immune problems may need to be treated with consultation with a rheumatologist or internal medicine doctor. Other tumors and cancers may need to be treated with chemotherapy. Radiation therapy can be used as well.
In appropriate cases masses can be removed through surgery, including thyroid growths, salivary gland growths, and throat cancer related growths.
For benign tumors or polyps, surgery, radiation, or medication to change thyroid levels are used.
For thyroid cancer, treatment is guided by national recommendations from the American Thyroid Association.
Increasingly, early and small cancers are being considered for non-surgical management. with periodic examinations. In certain circumstances half of the thyroid is removed (a thyroid lobectomy). Commonly, the entire thyroid gland is removed (a total thyroidectomy). Less commonly, when thyroid cancer spread is suspected or known, lymph nodes in the neck are removed in a procedure called a "neck dissection."
After surgery other treatments such as radioactive iodine may be administered when indicated.
Treatment decisions are made in consultation with surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists and other specialists. Early tongue cancer treatment may involve simple removal of the lesion. A neck dissection is a surgical procedure performed when concern exists that the lymph nodes in the neck may be harboring cancer. For larger tumors the tongue may need to be reconstructed. This may require transfer of tissue from nearby (a local flap) or tissue from a distant site (a free flap). Radiation therapy and chemotherapy may also be used.
See a comprehensive list of cancer and tumor care in the Albany Med Health System.