Health & Wellness

Doctors at Morristown Medical Center Draw Attention to Head and Neck Cancer; Offer Free Screenings

913fb70764b1b594cdb9_b8fb2958915e60c7393b_IMG_0691.JPG
435c057d84de77cc9d86_86973614345127e29848_IMG_0692.JPG
2b656f536975e88f030f_7b25c0370a84bdbcc05e_IMG_0693.JPG
913fb70764b1b594cdb9_b8fb2958915e60c7393b_IMG_0691.JPG

MORRISTOWN, NJ – April is Head and Neck Cancer Month and the doctors at Atlantic Health System are looking to build awareness around these types of cancers.

“Head and Neck cancer doesn’t get a lot of celebrity publicity like breast cancer and other cancers,” said Dr. Tom Thomas director of head and neck reconstructive and transoral robotic surgery at Morristown Medical Center. “People are aware of these other types of cancer, but not many people are talking about head and neck cancer.”

To draw attention to these cancers, Thomas and his staff organized three days of screenings during the first week of April. More than 75 people participated.

Sign Up for E-News

It used to be that heavy smokers and drinkers in their late 40s and early 50s got head and neck cancer, Thomas said. However, in the past 15 years there’s been a shift: People in their late 30s early and 40s are increasingly getting tonsil and throat cancer.

“HPV infection related oral cancer is significantly increasing over the last decade,” Thomas said. “It is much more common in educated white males, and more men are affected than women. My goal is not to say no to anyone who wants to get screened.”

The screenings took ten to 15 minutes each and focused on the participants’ personal and family history as well as an examination by a doctor.

Thomas, who came from The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, is looking to introduce an interactive piece to the Atlantic Health System website where people can ask questions. For now, anyone with questions can email him directly at headandneckcancer@atlantichealthsystem.org. He said he will answer all questions himself and make referrals as necessary.

According to Atlantic Health’s website, some signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer include a sore throat that won’t go away, frequent trouble swallowing, ear pain, a change in voice, multiple sexual partners and a history of high risk behaviors.

“Our goal is to Increase awareness, diagnose early, treat quickly and get them (the patients) out,” Thomas said.

But what happens when treatment is finished? That is a question being asked by Dr. James Wong chairman of the Head and Neck Cancer Institute.

“We do the standard treatment, surgery, radiation and new immunotherapy that everyone does,” Wong said. “However, we have an exciting new program that is now focusing our attention to multimodalities. Our focus was on how to save their lives. But we are learning that there are a lot of side effects from the treatment.”

Wong said doctors “used to say, `Congratulations Mr. Smith, we just got your scans and there is no evidence of disease. We will see you in three months.’ And we pretend that everyone is fine, that everyone is happy. Doctors go home to congratulate themselves for saving another life. The patient is supposed to be happy. But we now think that these people have a lot of problems.”

Wong said some patients have physical and emotional problems after treatment as well as trouble eating, loss of taste and sore mouths. So doctors at the Institute are turning their attention to what happens after the patient is cured.

Working with The Chambers Center for Well Being, Wong began a pilot-program where patients go through a 10- to 12-week course that incorporates different modalities like acupuncture, diet, acupressure, meditation, stress management, exercise and yoga.

 “This isn’t standard medicine,” said Wong. “Some of these modalities can influence the immune system. We are just starting to understand the difference between mental and physical and how they come together.”

Under Thomas and Wong, the Head and Neck Cancer Institute at Morristown Medical Center looks at the whole well-being. Three patients went through the pilot program so far.

“We are getting good feedback from the patients who have gone through the pilot program,” said Laura Bogert, patient coordinator at the Head and Neck Cancer Institute. “The program is a little sampler of other modalities and we are finding that everyone benefits.”

When asked about the future of head and neck cancer treatment, Wong smiled somewhat mischievously and said, “Stay tuned … We have something that, if we get it going, will change all medicines.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

No Plan to Punish Roxbury DPW Director for Illegal Immigrant Facebook Post

February 13, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury Director of Public Works Richard Blood’s decision to cut-and-paste to his personal Facebook page a controversial post about President Donald Trump and illegal immigrants will not impact his job with the township, said Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd.

However, Blood’s action - which led to his Monday night resignation from the Mendham Township ...

2018 Summer Explorations Program Sponsored by the Denville Board of Education

February 20, 2018

Come join us for fun filled, enriching classes this summer taught by our amazing Denville Teachers.  What a great chance to meet new friends, learn something new and beat summer boredom!  There is something for everyone…sports, art, music, cooking, crafting, science and fun ways to sharpen your skills.  

Classes will run at Riverview ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21, 12:00 PM

Makers Day at Morris County School of Technology, Denville

3rd Annual Makers Day

Arts & Entertainment Education Other

Thu, February 22, 7:30 PM

"The Grove" at the Randolph Diner, Randolph

Comedy Fundraiser benefiting Randolph Regional ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink Giving Back

Sat, February 24, 8:00 PM

The Red Mill , Clinton

A Night at The Red Mill Paranormal Investigation

Arts & Entertainment Other

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!

 

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper

Super Carb Diet by Bob Harper with Danny Pellegrino (St. Martin's Press, 2017)

It's hard to go on a serious diet, one on which you expect to be successful and maintain a loss. Fortunately, in his new book Super Carb Diet, Bob Harper has given the weight watching world a sensible new diet plan to help achieve a healthy weight.

Harper, host of NBC's popular show The Biggest Loser, ...

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs

Two Nights by Kathy Reichs (Bantom,2017)

How does a writer of a beloved series like Harry Potter or Temperance Brennan break out of their readers' expectations and try something new? For J.K. Rowlings it was the novels penned under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith; books about a maimed and very flawed private detective with the unlikely name of Cormoran Strike. For Kathy Reichs, it is the ...