Throat cancer is a complex and devastating cancer. The treatment is often very tough and effects speech, swallowing and cosmesis. To coordinate the care and assure not only that the cancers are cured but also to avoid serious long term side effects a multidisciplinary approach is essential.
At St Joseph mercy, Ann Arbor, a team has developed close collaboration between individual specialists in a work environment that emphasize on the overall result for the patients, not just outcome of individual treatments. Most cancer centers handle these complex cancer patients one specialty at a time, but at St Joseph Mercy Hospital all needed specialists work together as a team to get the best results. This also means that the members of the team learn from each other and has been able to develop better and safer routines for head and neck cancer care. The team is held together by a Medical Director, Dr Jan Akervall, Md, PhD, and a Nurse Navigator, Diana Herter, that make sure the patients get all the care they need in a timely fashion. They pride themselves in answering any and all questions a patient might have and that that they have a patient advocate through the entire treatment.