New program treats head and neck tumors | Norton Healthcare Louisville, Ky.

New program treats head and neck tumors

Patients like the program because they can see multiple providers in a single day, making it easier for patients and their family members.

In July 2018, Norton Cancer Institute opened the Head and Neck Tumor Program to treat the complex and unique needs of patients with cancers and benign tumors in these areas. The integrated care program offers multiple services and providers and gives patients coordinated, individualized treatment plans.

Patients like the program because they can see multiple providers in a single day, making it easier for both patients and their family members, according to Aaron C. Spalding, M.D., Ph.D., radiation oncologist with Norton Cancer Institute.

“Successful treatment for these patients involves multiple providers and support services,” Dr. Spalding said. “If we’re a patient-focused organization looking to reduce wait times and looking to reduce the burden on patients and their families, then the Head and Neck Tumor Program is a necessity, not a luxury.”

The program treats benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, such as basal cell carcinoma, malignant thyroid, and throat.

Treatment options include surgery, stereotactic radiosurgery, external beam radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

The program also has the potential to improve outcomes, because interventions can begin more quickly. For example, according to Dr. Spalding, patients can have their cases reviewed by a team of physicians and undergo surgery, if needed, in two to three days, as opposed to two weeks or more with traditional care.

The integrated care offered by the Head and Neck Tumor Program also makes it easier for primary care physicians in their role as their patients’ coordinators of care.

Oncology-certified nurses guide patients through their appointments and coordinate a weekly treatment-planning meeting with the care team. These patient navigator services are free to the patient, as are services available through Norton Cancer Institute Resource Center, which include:

  • Community groups to provide emotional support and educational counseling
  • Free classes and seminars by leading professionals on cancer-related topics
  • Private educational sessions with oncology-certified nurses
  • Art and music therapy
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Wigs and turbans
  • Lending library

For more information about Norton Cancer Institute Resource Centers, call (502) 629-5500.

The program offers integrated care from ear, nose and throat surgeons; neurosurgeons; plastic surgeons; medical oncologists; and radiation oncologists. All work with patients to create individualized treatment plans.

In addition, the program offers patients access to a behavioral oncologist, oral prosthodontist, speech pathologist and nutritionist.

For more information or to make a referral, call (502) 629-1800.

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