Support for Head & Neck Cancer

Doctors at NYU Langone’s Perlmutter Cancer Center stay involved in your follow-up care for head and neck cancer. Our doctors may see you every month during the first year after treatment; every 2 months during the second year; every 3 months during the third year; and every 6 to 12 months in the fourth and fifth years. During these appointments, your doctor may perform imaging tests, such as CT, MRI, or PET scans, to ensure the cancer has not returned.

Our experts also offer rehabilitation services, supportive care, integrative medicine, and psychological support.

Speech and Swallowing Support

Treatment for head and neck cancer can affect the mouth, vocal cords, or tongue, making speech and swallowing difficult. Speech and swallowing therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation can help preserve or restore your ability to speak and eat normally. They offer counseling and exercises for the mouth, tongue, and vocal cords.

If swallowing is difficult, you may need a nutritional assessment and dietary plan. Nutritionists at Perlmutter Cancer Center can help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need in easy-to-swallow foods during your recovery.

Visual Rehabilitation

Sometimes head and neck cancer, particularly sinonasal tumors, and its treatments can affect the orbital muscle, which helps the eyes to move, and the optic nerve, which delivers information from the eye to the brain. This can cause vision problems.

Our team of doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation, which includes rehabilitation physicians, ophthalmologists, neurologists, and neuro-optometrists, can help you adapt to changes in your vision. Our therapists help you achieve the highest possible level of independence in your daily activities.

Physical Therapy

If a bone from the leg, arm, or shoulder is removed for use in reconstruction, doctors at Rusk Rehabilitation may prescribe physical therapy. This involves exercises and other therapies to build strength, restore balance, and address any walking difficulties.

Supportive and Integrative Care

Our supportive care team at Perlmutter Cancer Center provides ongoing therapy for any treatment-related discomfort. You may need pain medication during recovery from surgery, for instance. Our doctors can help you find the medication and dose that works for you.

Integrative medicine therapies, such as acupuncture, may lessen discomfort and relieve dry mouth, a common side effect of radiation treatment. Yoga and massage therapy can help reduce stress and enhance well-being.

Psychological and Social Support

Support Groups and Counseling

We offer support groups and counseling to help reduce stress and improve your quality of life during treatment for head and neck cancer.

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Support groups and one-on-one counseling sessions with a psycho-oncologist, a healthcare provider trained in addressing the needs of people with cancer, are available at Perlmutter Cancer Center.

Counseling may help you and your family cope with stress or anxiety. Social workers can help you address any financial matters or logistical challenges—for example, traveling to your medical appointments—that may arise during treatment.