Center for Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology
South Carolina has one of the highest incidences of head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancer includes mouth cancer, tongue cancer, throat cancer, and cancers of the voice box. For those patients that survive surgery, radiation, and/or chemotherapy, their lives are greatly changed by loosing the ability to speak, swallow, and chew. Not to mention the physical appearance which can lead many to remove themselves from society altogether.
These “forgotten patients” now have a team of specialists at Hollings Cancer Center who truly do perform miracles and want to do more. Doing more will not only effect the clinical experience, but it will also advance evidenced-based medicine studies. Ultimately, this Center will create greater collaboration between basic scientists and clinicians as well as the ability to quantitatively measure the functional effectiveness of treatments for head and neck cancer and dental rehabilitation.
Biomedical science stands on the threshold of discoveries which will restore facial features that have been devastated by congenital defects, cancer, or trauma by regenerating skin, bone, and soft tissue. These advances will have dramatic impacts on health care and will require multidisciplinary and multi-organizational approaches to research, development and translation. The Center for Functional Outcomes and Reconstructive Biotechnology bridges basic scientists with clinical scientists to develop innovative technologies in the treatment of head and neck cancer. This Center would provide an opportunity to develop a mechanism to collect and analyze outcome data in order to measure the functional recovery of patients treated for head and neck cancer treatments. This lack of evidence is in large part related to the difficulty in structuring multidisciplinary testing, treatment, and research efforts.
Helping Head & Neck Cancer Patients with Prosthetics
The Center will house multi-specialists including head and neck surgeons, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapists, speech pathologists, oral and maxillofacial surgeons, and maxillofacial prosthodontists. The Center will measure the function of patients at various stages of their treatments and will lead to innovative rehabilitation technologies. The results of this research will benefit the overall quality of life of our patients and their families. They will be able to make informed treatment decisions based on evidence regarding their potential for functional recovery. In addition, the collaboration between specialists and the data that will be gathered will help identify those key factors that will be critical in determining the functional outcomes of patients related to the type of head and neck cancer treatment.