4141 Sherbrooke St. West Suite 625 Westmount, QC H3Z 1B8
Monday - Friday 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Head & Neck Cancers

Head & Neck Cancer and Surgery

The ENT Specialty Group Specializes in many facets of Head and Neck Surgery. It includes amongst its specialists, several Surgeons who have Fellowship (sub-specialty) training in all aspects of Head and Neck Cancer care.

Head and Neck Tumors ; which they look after comprehensively from diagnosis through to complete treatment, includes: mouth and throat cancers, benign and malignant thyroid and salivary gland tumors (parotid and sub-mandibular glands), parathyroid tumors, and advanced skin cancers. These surgeons also have advanced training in the plastic and reconstructive aspects of surgical treatment. This expertise allows them to provide the restorative part of the overall therapy.

The Clinic at ENT Specialty Group is fully equipped to provide the initial evaluation and assessment of a patient who is concerned about a Head and Neck lump or lymph node, most of which are not related to cancer. If required, many of the biopsies can be performed on the spot. The Surgeons all practice at the McGill University or CHUM hospitals and, therefore, have a direct link to their Head and Neck Tumor clinics at the hospitals. This allows for a rapid and seamless transfer for further work-up and treatment when required.

Skin Cancer
Complex Head and Neck Reconstruction

Our Head & Neck Cancer Specialists

Dr. Veronique-Isabelle Forest Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery Specialist

Dr. Veronique-Isabelle Forest

Dr. Michael P. Hier Head & Neck Surgeon

Dr. Michael P. Hier

Dr. Karen M. Kost Voice Specialist, Head and Neck Surgeon

Dr. Karen M. Kost

Dr. Alex Mlynarek Head & Neck Surgeon

Dr. Alex Mlynarek

Dr. Richard Payne Thyroid and Parathyroid Surgeon

Dr. Richard Payne

FAQ's for Head and Neck Cancer


1. What is Head and Neck Cancer ?

Head and Neck Cancer includes cancers of the mouth, throat, nose and sinuses , thyroid gland, salivary glands (most commonly the parotid gland and submandibular gland) and skin of the head and neck region.

2. What are the sign and symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer ?

The signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer vary depending on the type and location of the cancer. They can range from a non-healing sore in the mouth, throat or on the skin; to a lump on the side or front of your face or neck. They can be associated with pain in one’s face or throat or may be entirely painless. Head and Neck Cancer may also begin with voice changes or trouble swallowing.

3. How is Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosed ?

The first essential step is to have a thorough examination. Your ENT surgeon will assess your history and perform a complete head and neck examination. That will include examining the skin and lymph nodes in your head and neck region. Your mouth and throat will be assessed with a painless procedure that involves passing a very fine camera into your throat through your nasal passage.

If any abnormal lumps are detected in your neck lymph nodes, parotid gland, submandibular gland or thyroid gland; an ultrasound will be used to see these regions more clearly and will allow your ENT surgeon to perform a fine needle biopsy. This is a very precise and accurate way to achieve a rapid diagnosis.

You may also be sent for special types of xrays, such as a: CT scan, MRI scan or PET/CT scan.


4. Thyroid Cancer Diagnosis

Besides the examination described above which includes an Ultrasound, blood tests and the Ultrasound guided needle biopsy, your ENT surgeon may discuss other possible tests with you.
There are some very specific and advanced molecular gene tests that can be performed on thyroid nodules. These tests can improve the diagnostic accuracy and precision of thyroid needle biopsies.

5. What causes Head and Neck Cancer ?

The well known causes of Head and Neck Cancer include smoking and alcohol. Another very well recognized cause is human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV vaccine is an extremely effective and important measure to protect against HPV related throat cancer in both men and women.
Exposure to excessive amounts of radiation is a known cause of thyroid cancer.

6. What are my treatment options ?

The three primary treatment options for Head and Neck Cancer include: Surgery, Radiation Treatment and Chemotherapy and more recently Immunotherapy. Laser surgery and robotic surgery are used for some head and neck cancers.

7. What are possible risks and complications of treatment of head and neck cancer

Risks and complications vary tremendously depending on the type of surgery, site and dose of radiation and type of chemotherapy. The specifics will be explained to you by your physicians.

8. What kind of treatment follow up do I need ?

The frequency of follow up is very dependent on what kind of cancer you have and what kind of treatment you receive. It also depends on how far out from treatment you are. The more time that has passed since your treatment finished, the less often you will be seen.

9. What new developments exist for head and neck cancer ?

Robotic surgery is being commonly used for certain types of throat cancer.
New targeted therapy and immunotherapy is being used for many types of head and neck cancer.

10. How serious is my cancer ?

The severity of head and neck cancer is very dependent on the type, location and stage of the cancer. Many of these cancers are very curable.
The most important initial step is to be evaluated promptly at the first sign of something that is out of the ordinary.