Doha, 9 March, 2019: Surgeons from the Oral and Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) have successfully removed a tumor from the tongue and jaw of a patient with advanced oral cancer. Dr. Moustafa Al Khalil, Senior Consultant and Head of Carnio-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 tumor from the patient’s tongue and jawbone and reconstruction of the surgical site. The patient, Mr. Ahmed Hammam, underwent 30 sessions of radiation therapy post-surgery.
“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. The post-operative therapy required will vary from patient to patient and depend on the location of the tumor and the treatment. In the case of Mr. Hammam, both the surgery and rehabilitation have been very successful and we expect him to make a complete recovery,” said Dr. Al Khalil.
According to Dr. Al Khalil the Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery Department has had great success in the surgical management of cases involving aggressive tumors, including those that require reconstructive surgery. He said with the treatment of oral cancers the aim is to remove the affected tissue while minimizing damage to the mouth. Dr. Al Khalil said Mr. Hammam’s story is significant because it highlights the importance of prompt treatment.
“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 center where I was referred to Al Wakra Hospital,” said Mr. Hammam. “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. He recommended I have surgery within one week and while I was shocked and overwhelmed, Dr. Al Khalil explained surgery was necessary to save my life and I trusted him.”
“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. I am so grateful for the high-quality of care I received. In addition to providing great medical care, myself and my family received a lot of psychological support from the doctors and nurses who cared for me,” added Mr. Hammam.
Dr. Al Khalil said cases involving aggressive tumors are prioritized for surgery to prevent the 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 specialties and that treatment exceeds international benchmarks.
“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 work together as a multidisciplinary team and discuss each new case, making decisions about how to best care for each individual patient. 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 modernize our surgical services,” said Dr. Al Khalil.
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.
“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 percent of these cases involving the removal of tumors. 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,” said Dr. Al Khalil.