Head And Neck Oncology: Restoring Hope Through Cancer Treatment, Reconstruction

When Tim Harrison of Springboro learned he had tongue cancer, he thought his life was over. What he didn’t account for was the skill and tenacity of Sameep Kadakia, MD, a fellowship-trained facial, plastic, and microvascular reconstructive surgeon. Dr. Kadakia expertly eradicates head and neck cancers and reconstructs the face and neck to restore a person’s function and quality of life. He is a certified physician with MD Anderson Cancer Network®. For complex cases, he consults with MD Anderson physicians.

Dr. Kadakia leads Dayton’s first and only comprehensive Head and Neck Cancer Program, which offers a full spectrum of procedures, including oncologic ablation (using special probes to burn or freeze cancerous tumors), facial reconstruction, and chemoradiation.

He collaborates with a multidisciplinary team that includes experts in medical oncology, radiation oncology, speech and swallow therapy, pathology, and neurosurgery. They work together to diagnose and treat a wide range of benign and malignant head and neck tumors, including those of the eye, oral cavity, salivary glands, oropharynx, larynx, thyroid/parathyroid glands, esophagus, sinonasal tract, temporal bone, and skull base.

Patient Tim Harrison initially had surgery to remove a portion of the bottom of his tongue and mouth. When the cancer returned, Dr. Kadakia performed further surgery to remove cancer from Harrison’s tongue, jawbone, and lymph nodes in his neck.

The surgery successfully eliminated the cancer, but Harrison needed delicate reconstruction to restore his speech and appearance. Dr. Kadakia collaborated with Sunishka Wimalawansa, MD, a fellowship-trained hand and microvascular reconstructive surgeon, to perform a radial forearm free flap, a procedure using a flap of skin on the underside of Harrison’s forearm to reconstruct his tongue.

With therapy, Harrison has regained the ability to speak clearly, and he continues to be cancer-free. “It was astonishing – amazing!” he says. “I was back to normal very quickly and it had a lot to do with the doctors and therapists. I was prepared for the worst and then I got the best.” Watch Harrison’s story.

Premier Health's Head and Neck Cancer Program is focused on increasing its services to head and neck cancer patients in the Ohio region.

Headshot of Sunishka Wimalawansa, MD

Sunishka Wimalawansa, MD

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