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Mark Weissler, MD, Professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery talks about the Head and Neck team at UNC Cancer Care, improvements in radiation oncology, interventional radiology and milestones in Head and Neck surgery, and partnerships with referring physicians.

Surgical Oncology

UNC’s Head & Neck Surgical Oncology diagnostic and treatment facilities are state of the art, with intraoperative CT surgical guidance, intraoperative XRT, 3D CT guided conformal radiation, PET/CT scanning, Transoral Robotics Surgery (TORS) and free flap reconstruction.

The division performs over 200 major head and neck surgical cases each year and is among the busiest clinical divisions at the university.

Radiation Therapy Options

The Head & Neck team includes radiation oncologists with expertise in both Cyberknife and TomoTherapy radiation therapy options.

The Cyberknife consists of a lightweight linear accelerator mounted on a robotic arm. This treatment system has been used to successfully treat lesions in patients who are otherwise not candidates for surgery or for lesions that are not amenable to open surgical techniques.

TomoTherapy is a sophisticated radiation treatment machine that provides both state-of-the-art imaging and therapy technologies. TomoTherapy has a “built in” CT scanner, providing 3D images to pinpoint a tumor’s exact location. This allows radiation to be delivered to that precise location while minimizing risk to the surrounding tissues and organs.

Medical Oncology Options

Each of the medical oncologists seeing patients in the head and neck group brings a portfolio of clinical trials and trials experience relevant to all stages of care of the head and neck cancer patient. We include expertise in both common tumors such as squamous cell carcinoma as well as rarer tumors of the salivary gland, thyroid and sarcomas.