HJAR Jul/Aug 2020

52 JUL / AUG 2020 I  HEALTHCARE JOURNAL OF ARKANSAS DIALOGUE COLUMN ONCOLOGY A PATIENT’S ABILITY to speak, swallow, taste, see, hear, or even breathe, can all be compromised by a head and neck cancer, depending on where it originates. Not only can the cancer itself cause a variety of func- tional impairments, but the treatment for the cancer can also cause permanent disability in these areas. While curing the cancer and preserving the life of a patient is viewed as an oncologic success, this success is short- lived when a patient is left functionally im- paired, and with a poor quality of life. This reality has led to a shift in focus fromnot only positive oncologic outcomes, but optimal functional outcomes for the patient as well. Recent advances in both technology and sur- gical technique have allowed for improved outcomes on all fronts for two of the most common types of head and neck cancers: oropharyngeal cancer and oral cavity cancer. Head and neck cancers affect a range of areas in the head and neck that play a critical role in the day to day life of patients. INNOVATIONS in Head and Neck Oncologic Surgery