Robotic Surgery: A Better Option for Many Head & Neck Cancers

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Head and neck cancers are often difficult to diagnose and hard to treat.  Fortunately, advances in robotic surgery techniques are changing the landscape of surgery for head and neck cancers. In this program, two UW head and neck surgeons, Dr. Eduardo Mendez and Dr. Neal Futran discuss the advantages of the latest in robotic surgery.

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Transcript

Andrew Schorr:

 

Hello.  Welcome to Patient Power, sponsored by UW Medicine Health System.  I'm Andrew Schorr.  Well, as a cancer survivor of course I know how traumatic it can be emotionally.  Sometimes you need chemo, radiation, surgery.  Well, imagine if you have cancer of the head and neck and need surgery, that can be quite traumatic of course.  But what if there's a less invasive way, a more precise way, and to allow the doctors to get at cancers that maybe they otherwise could not get at with other types of surgery.  We're going to hear about that in this program today. 

 

And I'd like you to meet someone who has benefitted from robotic surgery for head and neck cancer, specifically cancer that was found on his tongue.  And that's Chuck Ross, who is 64 years old, from Wenatchee.  He was in materials handling for many years there, and then back in 2009 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and he had robotic surgery for that.  Well, while he was having the surgery the surgeon noticed that there was a spot on his tongue and said, you know, I don't like that.  You need to get that checked out.  And when the conclusion was that it was cancer on his tongue he came to the University of Washington and the head and neck surgeons there who by then had been doing robotic surgery to help people in a much less invasive way. 

 

Chuck, you had robotic surgery for prostate.  The idea of having it for a second cancer, and nobody wants a second cancer, that seemed to be the way to go for you? 


 

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