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"Is an ENT oncology consultation needed for someone with throat cancer?"


I was diagnosed with throat cancer last month. Why do I need an ENT oncology consultation?


First of all I am sorry to hear that you were diagnosed with throat cancer. The short answer to this question is "yes". However, fiberoptic without more information about the specifics of your situation, it is hard to answer completely.

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An otolaryngology (ENT aka ears nose throat) head and neck surgeon is a physician that specializes in dealing with head and neck cancer. Initially for complete work-up of your cancer, you should see an ENT H&N surgeon for a complete history and exam, likely including flexible laryngoscopy (where a flexible scope will be passed via a nostril to view the base of the tongue, pharynx, hypopharynx, and larynx (voice box) to determine the extent of the mass. This is all part of the information gathering phase of the work-up. You see, depending on the origin, size, histologic type, and location of the tumor dictates the management plan. So frequently with head and neck cancers, if the tumor cannot be easily examined in the office (such as a tonsil cancer, or a tongue base cancer) the H&N surgeon will schedule an exam under anesthesia where the tumor can be "mapped" out. That is, determining the visual and palpable extent of the tumor and what anatomic structures it involves. Some tumors aren't even treated with surgery as a primary modality, however it is still a good idea to have a H&N surgeon as part of the work-up because they may be involved in the surveillance after treatment. Hopefully this helps. Best of luck.

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