The oncology specialists at Upper Chesapeake Health (UCH) and the new Kaufman Cancer Center provide a comprehensive and multidisciplinary plan of care for the treatment and rehabilitation of patients diagnosed with head and neck cancer.
Patients often need a combination of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and gene therapy. At UCH and through our partnership with the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center, we use a multidisciplinary team approach to provide individuals with a personalized treatment plan that offers them the best opportunity for success. The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center's (UMGCC) is nationally recognized for its innovative approaches and advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancers of the head and neck region. UCH's partnership with the UMGCC brings access to a world class academic center to the new Kaufman Cancer Center for patients right here in our community.
Everyone should have a yearly physical exam of the head and neck conducted by their family physician as well as yearly dental checkups that include examination of the mouth. For people considered high-risk for head and neck cancers, additional examinations may be necessary. Tobacco and excessive alcohol use are two widely known risk factors that can greatly increase the risk of head and neck cancers. Limiting alcohol consumption and stopping the use of tobacco products are important steps in prevention. UCH offers smoking cessation classes to help you quit tobacco use. Call 443-643-3350 for more information or check out our calendar for the next class.
Our specialists are experts in the complex anatomy of the head and neck and at responding to patient concerns about speech, swallowing, and appearance. Patients receive consultation and care from a team of surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, head and neck radiologists, general and oral pathologists, nurses, social workers, nutritionists and speech-language pathologists. The experienced team works together throughout the diagnosis and treatment process to design a coordinated care plan.
The team also meets weekly to evaluate patients, review treatment plans, and examine new therapies that could benefit patients. Treatment is geared toward each patient's individual needs. Patients who have not had success with other treatments can draw on the team's experience in using leading-edge technology, innovative protocols, and new therapies to offer potential solutions. Throughout the course of treatment, the team emphasizes ongoing communication with patients, families, and referring physicians.
Please visit our Physicians page to learn more about our expert caregivers.
Head and Neck Oncology Nurse Navigator
Our specialty oncology nurse navigator will help guide you through your cancer journey. She will help you with ongoing information, education, and side effect management about your head and neck cancer. Our oncology nurse navigator will provide you with compassionate coordination of care and communication with your multi-disciplinary healthcare team from diagnosis through treatment and survivorship.
Speech and Swallowing Therapist
As part of your treatment team you will be introduced to a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) who can help by evaluating swallowing and communication abilities and develop a treatment plan specific to our head and neck patients to achieve their goals. Swallowing function and natural communication abilities often can change before, during, and after head and neck cancer treatment. Routine swallowing screenings are completed in the infusion center to address possible swallowing difficulties.
Our oncology dietitian will meet with you as part of your treatment plan. Nutrition can become a challenge with head and neck cancer and there are specialized nutrition needs that will be addressed. Our dietitian will work closely with patients and their families providing specific recommendations, education, and resources to keep you well-nourished before, during and after treatment.
The Head and Neck Cancer Program offers supportive care social work services to individuals and their families. Our specially trained oncology social workers provide individualized assessments and counseling services that address the unique needs of the head and neck cancer patient and their loved ones. Education about positive coping strategies & improved communication skills, help with practical activities of daily living at home, restoring of a sense of normalcy, addressing body images changes and self-esteem, information about financial and insurance concerns are some of the ways that social work can help.
We also offer a weekly multi-disciplinary head and neck cancer support group. Our goal is to provide hope, reduce your stress and maximize your quality of life as you and your family go through this journey of cancer. It is our goal to provide assistance and care from diagnosis through treatment, recovery and on to survivorship.
Cancer LifeNet Head and Neck offers a weekly educational and informative support group for people fighting head and neck cancer. It is a time for sharing, listening and learning. Meet others with head and neck cancer as well as health care professionals. The group is open to patients and their families who are newly diagnosed, undergoing treatment or recovering from treatment. Contact the Cancer Life Net office for more information 443-643-3350 or check out our calendar of events to see when the next group meets.
To schedule an appointment, please visit our Contact Us page. You don't have to face cancer alone. Call the Cancer LifeNet Helpline at 1-866-393-4355 for support.