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Visiting the Oncology Service

If cancer is suspected, a visit to Mass. Eye and Ear is in order. Some patients visit without a physician’s referral, but medical insurance may require a referral for reimbursement.

The initial visit will typically include a medical history and ear, nose, and throat examination made by a board-certified otolaryngologist – an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Residents in training for board certification may also participate in care planning.

The examination time can range from 30 minutes to three hours, depending on the need for consultations and supplementary tests such as X-rays and lab work. The doctor may use special instruments to evaluate the sinuses, nasal cavity, voice box and other internal structures. Sophisticated radiology exams such as CT scans or barium swallows usually require separate appointments.

Coordinating treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare

If the examination reveals the presence of a tumor, the head and neck team will recommend the best course of treatment. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy – or some combination of all three.

Successful head and neck cancer treatment is the result of a coordinated effort of many health care specialists. Mass. Eye and Ear is committed to treating the entire patient – not just the disease. Surgery recovery may require specialized rehabilitation, skilled nursing, home health care and other services. Compassionate experts from Social Work and Discharge Planning coordinate all the required services to best meet both the patient’s and family’s needs after treatment.