Surgery for Head and Neck Cancer

VIDEO | 06:00

In the past, surgeons routinely removed a very large area of tissue surrounding any head and neck tumor. But as surgical oncologist Jatin Shah of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains, improved understanding of the biology of head and neck cancers has revealed that the vast majority of these tumors spread locally and then to nearby lymph nodes well before reaching distant sites in the body. As a result, surgeons now remove many head and neck tumors with smaller incisions or with minimally invasive approaches such as laparoscopic surgery and robot-assisted surgery.