White or red patches, and ulceration on gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth, Swelling of the jaw, Unusual pain or bleeding
Prolonged throat pain when swallowing, Hoarseness of voice, Ear pain
Frequent headaches, Nasal bleeding or blood in sputum, Pain or ringing in the ears or reduced hearing, Neck lump(s), Numbness in one side of the face
Ear or throat pain, Weight loss, Abdominal pain, Nausea and vomiting
Treatment depends on the type of head and neck cancer, the stage of cancer as well as the general medical condition of the patient.
The Radiation Oncologist determines the most appropriate method and discusses with you the treatment intent, schedule, risks and side-effects.
A CT scan of the treatment area will be obtained, while a face mask is used to ensure accurate positioning during your daily treatment.
A multidisciplinary team produces a customised treatment plan for you.
Radiation therapy for head and neck cancer is delivered daily (Mondays to Fridays) for two to seven weeks depending on the treatment intent (curative or palliative). Each treatment session lasts 20 to 25 minutes.
Your first follow-up appointment varies depending on how you do during treatment, and is usually about four to eight weeks after you have completed the course of radiation therapy.
3DCRT delivers very precise doses of radiation to the head and neck area and spares surrounding normal tissue through a machine called a linear accelerator.
IMRT involves varying (or modulating) the intensity of the radiation being delivered during treatment. Compared to 3DCRT, this technique can deliver more tightly focused radiation beams to cancerous tumours while reducing the amount of radiation to surrounding healthy tissues.
You will experience minimal side effects in the first one to two weeks of your radiation therapy course. Many of these side effects will improve over time and some can be controlled with medication. Inform your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing any discomfort so they can help you better.
Late side effects, such as hardening of the neck skin, hearing loss or decrease in thyroid hormone levels, can concur months to years after treatment in some patients. There are other rare side effects, such as damage to nerves or the jaw bone, which may affect less than five percent of our patients.
Immediate benefits of less airway irritation with less cough and shortness of breath.
Even gently short bouts of activity helps! Improves mood, reduces fatigue, and helps with appetite.
Inform your doctor if you are taking medications, to make sure that they are safe to use during radiation therapy.
Avoid hot or cold packs and only use lotions and ointments after checking with your doctor or nurse. Clean the affected area with lukewarm water and mild soap
Mental and emotional health is as important as physical health. It might be helpful to talk to counsellors or join a cancer support group.
It is good to have someone who can help to keep track of hospital appointments and medications prescribed.
Get plenty of rest during treatment.
Avoid hot, spicy and acidic food. Eat soft food with a high liquid content eg. ice cream, congee or soup. Eat a balanced diet of small frequent meals.
Senior Consultant Radiation Oncologist, Medical Director, MBBS (Aust), FRANZCR (Radiation Oncology)
Dr Tang obtained his medical degree from the University of Newcastle, Australia in 1998 and completed his house officer training at the Hunter Area Health Service, Australia before returning to Singapore to start his specialty training in Radiation Oncology at the National University Hospital (NUH). After obtaining his fellowship from the Royal Australian College of Radiologist (FRANZCR) in 2006, Dr Tang underwent fellowships in breast brachytherapy at University of Wisconsin and Arizona Breast Cancer Specialist Centre as well as prostate brachytherapy, skin and paediatric fellowships at Peter Maccallum Cancer Institute, Australia.
Dr. Johann Tang is an experienced radiation oncologist who aims to deliver the highest level of care to his patients. With ethics and empathy held at the core of our practice, we strive to understand your individual needs and provide care that is compassionate and responsive.
Mon – Fri: 8:30am – 5:30pm
Sat: 8:30am – 1:00pm
Sun & Public Holidays: Closed