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On Apr 08, 2011 4:24 AM jalind wrote:

On Mar 24, 2011 5:10 AM Georgenone wrote:


Is there any cancer patient out there who can really answer this Question?

Neck dissection is an exploratory procedure where Lymph Nodes are removed and examined to see if cancer has spread to the lymph system. Why is this done? If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes there is largely nothing they can do about it. They will tell you all they can do is watch to see where cancer may spread to next. Has anyone ever heard of any possible benefit from a neck dissection?

What could possibly make a neck dissection worth a guaranteed lifetime of pain and other problems?

I have read thousands of pages of information on neck dissection. What am I missing?

Neck dissection and a host of pathology reports failed to detect the cancer in my jaw. It was actively causing a horrible amount of pain both before and after surgery. Perhaps my point of view is too narrow to understand. What I see is they butchered my neck took out my tongue and larnyx but never touched or found the cancer causing the problem that prompted me to seek medical help.

So does anyone have some answers?

All lines of wisdom, witt or just plain *hit are welcome. After 3 and a half years of searching for an answer,  even a good laugh would be nice.

[Play ELO's "I'm Alive" in background while reading this.]

A neck dissection really should NOT be an exploratory procedure . . . not if PET/CT scans and FNA biopsies can be used to determine what is going on first so that the radical neck dissection can be planned properly! I can understand why there might be some circumstance that would preclude FNA biopsies, but even so, a CT or PET/CT should still be done beforehand.

For me, the radical neck dissection was done to remove some lymph nodes that were already KNOWN to be cancerous, plus a parotid gland they were on top of, and most of the rest of the string of nodes just to be sure we got it ALL.  As it turned out, that was a wise move as there were more nodes involved than we knew about.  For me, the overkill was a Good Thing.  Radical neck dissections are NOT simple, they take hours to perform, and there is risk of significant nerve damage with quite morbid consequences in the process.  You DO NOT want to have to go back in with a "do-over" to get more tissue, nodes and/or glands.

The side effects from nearly all neck dissections are nothing compared to the morbid side effects of head/neck radiotherapy, some of which continue appearing for months and years afterward.  For me, the question would be what made radiotherapy worth its side effects, some of which will be permanent (not the surgery)?  The answer: it's better than pushing up daisies, which I'd almost certainly be doing by now, or be in palliative care and hospice doing daisy pushup planning.

Your point of view is definately not too narrow too understand. I wish I knew what I know now. I would have definately went to a specialized cancer hospital instead of being shuffled to a local general surgery clinic. No scans were done beforehand. I have had the proceedure & 3 yrs. later I still have problems of inflammation, lymphodema & severe anemia. They do a blood test every 6 mo. My advice to anyone at this point is to always seek a second opinion.

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