Surgeons from the Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have successfully removed a tumour from the tongue and jaw of a patient with advanced oral cancer. Dr Moustafa Al Khalil, Senior Consultant and Head of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department at HMC’s Rumailah Hospital said the 40-year-old Egyptian man, who had been diagnosed with stage 3 oral cancer, is expected to make a full recovery.
Dr Al Khalil said the complex ten-hour surgery involved removal of the tumour from the patient’s tongue and jawbone and reconstruction of the surgical site. The patient, Ahmed Hammam, underwent 30 sessions of radiation therapy post-surgery.
Dr Al Khalil said:
Shortly after surgery the patient began undergoing rehabilitation and was able to speak and swallow ten days after the operation. Head and neck cancers and their treatment frequently cause changes in both speech and swallowing. In the case of Hammam, both the surgery and rehabilitation have been very successful and we expect him to make a complete recovery.’
According to Dr Al Khalil, the Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department has had great success in the surgical management of cases involving aggressive tumours, including those that require reconstructive surgery. He said with the treatment of oral cancers the aim is to remove the affected tissue while minimising damage to the mouth. Dr Al Khalil said Hammam’s story is significant because it highlights the importance of prompt treatment. Hammam said:
A year and a half ago I noticed an ulcer on my tongue. Later I started to feel pain in my jaw and I went to my health centre where I was referred to Al Wakra Hospital. I was later referred to Dr Moustafa Al Khalil and after he conducted a series of tests he diagnosed me with stage 3 oral cancer and explained the recommended treatment plan and the prognosis. Thanks to God and HMC’s medical team, the surgery was a success. I was able to speak within ten days and after about a month I returned to most of my normal activities, and will soon return to my profession as a lawyer.’
Dr Al Khalil said cases involving aggressive tumours are prioritised for surgery to prevent cancer from spreading to the neck and lymph nodes. He said the Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department has a board of surgeons and medical professionals from 12 different specialities and that treatment exceeds international benchmarks. Dr Khalil said:
Our surgeons are specialists in their field and have extensive experience caring for oncology patients. As a group, we meet weekly to discuss new cases. We aim to provide surgical intervention for patients within two weeks of diagnosis. HMC’s protocol for caring for patients with diseases and disorders of the head and neck are among the best in the world. Our treatment times exceed the international standards of many hospitals which take up to two months to provide medical and surgical intervention. We are committed to providing the best possible care to our patients and we have plans to further expand and modernise our surgical services.’
HMC’s Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department receives referrals from across HMC’s network and from public and private hospitals and clinics located throughout Qatar. Dr Al Khalil said head and neck cancers can be challenging to diagnose and treat because the symptoms are often attributed to other medical problems and as a result, the majority of these cancers are diagnosed at a late stage, which makes them more difficult to treat.
Dr Al Khalil concluded:
HMC’s Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department conducts around 600 surgeries each year on patients with advanced diseases and disorders of the head and neck, with around 30% of these cases involving the removal of tumours. It is important for the public to be aware of the potential warning signs of oral cancer, which can include a sore that does not heal within two weeks, a lump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area, a persistent sore throat, and pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue.’