Mouth Surgery
Introduction to Surgery
Preparing For Surgery
Quitting Smoking And Drinking
The Day Of Surgery
Procedure For Family During Surgery

Surgery

Some common types of surgery that can be used for cancer of unknown primary in the head and neck area are:

Neck dissection

This involves removing the enlarged cancerous lymph nodes, together with other lymph nodes in the same region of the neck. 
download pdf

Tonsillectomy

This involves removing the tonsils, if there are signs of cancer in the tonsils or other lymph nodes in the neck. It can also help with diagnosing the type of cancer.
download pdf

How can I prepare for the surgery?

Your doctor will explain details of the surgery, general risks and side effects of surgery. Ask your doctor if you have questions. They may recommend:

  • stopping blood thinners (e.g. aspirin) before surgery to reduce the risk of bleeding

  • special stockings to reduce the risk of blood clots

  • early mobilisation (i.e not staying in bed) to reduce the risk of blood clots and chest infection

  • antibiotics to lower the risk of wound infection.

Before starting treatment, it is important that you consider stopping smoking to reduce the risk of infection and help you fully recovery after your treatment.

Side effects of surgery

Treatment for cancer of unknown primary may lead to a number of side effects. You may not experience all of the side effects. Speak with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about treatment side effects.