Siteman Advantage

Fact: The Siteman Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in Missouri and is ranked among the top cancer facilities in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.

What this means for you: They provide a full range of cancer diagnosis and treatment options led by specialists at the top of their field, many involved in leading-edge research on novel therapies.

Fact: Siteman surgeons offer leading-edge treatments in tumor removal, such as transoral laser or robotic microsurgery for cancers of the larynx and pharynx, allowing them to remove tumors through the mouth without opening the patient’s neck.

What this means for you: This form of therapy has markedly reduced side effects and hospital lengths of stay. It also minimizes effect on your speech and swallowing.

Fact: Siteman pioneered the development of genomic testing for personalized, targeted treatment. Treatment is targeted to the genetic components of the cancer.

What this means for you: Knowing the genetic make-up of your cancer yields important information about which treatments may be more effective and what won’t work, sparing needless complications.

Fact: In the area of reconstruction, Siteman surgeons have pioneered a technique to rebuild the tongue after a large portion of it has been lost to cancer surgery, using tissue from other parts of the body.

What this means for you: They can create a structure that functions somewhat like a tongue and helps you eat, chew, swallow and speak more normally following surgery.

Fact: Siteman has more than 20 clinical trials for head and neck cancers.

What this means for you: The standard of care at a research hospital is often clinical trials, meaning you get treatments not otherwise available.

Fact: When a portion of the lower jaw bone must be removed, creating a defect, 3-D modeling is used to guide a symmetrical reconstruction.

What this means for you: The effects on your appearance, chewing or eating are minimized.

Fact: The team includes specialists in otolaryngology, radiation oncology, medical oncology, radiology, pathology, oral surgery, prosthodontics, speech therapy, audiology, psychology and dietetics, providing a collective expertise not always available at other cancer centers.

What this means for you: Your specific case is treated individually and not given a standard treatment without consideration of what makes you unique.

Fact: Unique to Siteman is our approach to finding small primary head and neck tumors. Human papillomavirus tumors can be only one to three millimeters, below the resolution of PET or anatomic imaging, yet still metastasize to adjacent lymph nodes. The technique examines tissue in the tonsils and tongue with a powerful microscope an endoscopic instruments, and finds the tiny primary tumor 90 percent of the time.

What this means for you: Patients usually present with a swollen lymph node and no identified primary tumor. With the technique used, the surgeon can remove the cancer right then, lessening the chances of further spread. This approach has dramatically reduced the need to do follow-up radiation on the throat, sparing you from long-term problems from the radiation.