A team of experts at Mayo Clinic uses the latest approaches to treat soft palate cancer and maintain the function of your soft palate. The treatment will be tailored to your needs. Doctors base treatment plans on the type and stage of the cancer, your overall health, the probability of curing the disease and the side effects of treatment. Treatment options include:
- Radiation. Radiation therapy can be used alone or with chemotherapy or surgery to treat soft palate cancers of all stages. Because radiation does not require the surgical removal of soft palate tissue, this treatment will likely result in satisfactory outcomes for speech and swallowing function. Highly skilled radiation oncologists provide state-of-the-art radiation therapy at Mayo Clinic, including intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), 3-D conformal radiation therapy, stereotactic radiosurgery, brachytherapy, and small field conformal radiation therapy.
- Chemotherapy. Medical oncologists administer chemotherapy either through a vein or by mouth. Doctors prescribe chemotherapy to treat cancer that has spread extensively (metastasized) to organs beyond the soft palate. Chemotherapy may also be combined with radiation treatments.
- Surgery. In some cases, surgery may be the treatment of choice. In early or superficial cancers, surgical removal can often be done as an outpatient procedure. When the cancer has spread to the neck lymph nodes, lymph node removal may be necessary. Mayo's innovative surgical techniques can remove the cancer and provide the best possible function. For example, in transoral robotic surgery, which is less invasive than conventional surgery, skilled surgeons use special instruments to view the soft palate through the mouth and nose.
- Reconstructive surgery.Depending on the location and spread of the tumor, reconstructive surgery may be necessary. Experienced surgeons work to improve appearance and function through reconstruction of the soft palate to restore speech and swallowing function.
- Rehabilitative services. To assist in recovery, health care providers at Mayo Clinic offer many rehabilitative services, including speech therapy, dietary counseling and physical and occupational therapy. In addition, the Nicotine Dependence Center can help people who want to stop using tobacco.