Toyama University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center 

Toyama University Hospital Comprehensive Cancer Center 



Head and Neck Oncology Center

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Head and Neck Oncology Center

“Head and neck” refers collectively to the neck and above, with the exceptions of the brain, eyes, spine, and spinal cord. The organs handled by this center primarily include the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, trachea, cervical esophagus, ears, nose and paranasal sinuses, salivary glands, and thyroid gland.
The head and neck are involved in basic life functions such as eating, drinking, and breathing, as well as other important functions such as speaking, listening, seeing, smelling, and tasting. Additionally, because this region of the body is not generally concealed by clothing, personal appearances can be a major concern.

What Kinds of Head and Neck Tumors Are There?

There are various types of tumors, from benign tumors that do not grow for years and cause no symptoms, to malignant tumors that grow rapidly and destroy the surrounding organs. Symptoms can vary depending on the organ or site where the tumor occurred.
Typical types of malignant tumors include tongue cancer, oral cavity cancer, maxillary cancer, pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer, parotid cancer, and thyroid cancer.
At the Head and Neck Oncology Center, we provide diagnosis and treatment of these tumors.  

What Types of Tests Are Available?

In addition to visual and palpation examinations (examinations by touch), we also perform endoscopies, as well as CT, MRI, and ultrasound examinations, and more.
We also handle biopsies (collecting a sample of the tumor) and cytological diagnosis (collecting a sample of cells).
Additionally, we can also provide blood tests (including tumor markers), as well as PET/CT scans to find malignant tumors.

What Types of Therapies Are Available?

The standard treatment for benign tumors is surgery, but we strive to ensure that patients fully understand the nature of their tumor and the site where it has occurred, as well as the risks associated with surgery, before proceeding with treatment.
To treat malignant tumors, the general rule for complete recovery is surgery or radiotherapy. These are often combined with chemotherapy in order to make the treatment more effective. If there are distant metastases, chemotherapy serves as the main therapy.
We actively strive to provide relief from pain and other symptoms, regardless of whether the patient is being treated, and regardless of the type of treatment.
For head and neck tumors, not only can the optimal therapy vary significantly from case to case, depending on the nature and site of the tumor, but it is also natural for patients to choose different therapies based on their own priorities, even if they have exactly the same medical condition. We do not make blanket decisions about treatment, such as to always use surgery or radiotherapy; rather, we engage in dialogue with patients in order to propose the best treatment for each individual, based on both evidence and theory.

What Makes the Head and Neck Oncology Center Distinctive?

Previously, the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery handled head and neck tumors based on their respective specialties. However, with the establishment of the Head and Neck Oncology Center, we are now able to provide even safer, surer treatment that preserves organ functionality, by compensating for the potential shortcomings in each department’s treatment abilities.
Before beginning therapy, we proactively provide oral cavity care, dental treatments, swallowing evaluations, rehabilitation for swallowing and articulation, and nutritional management, with the goal of minimizing functional decline after treatment.

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