Life after a head and neck cancer diagnosis is a difficult journey. There is a great struggle over loss of control in patients' lives. Cancer affects its victims on a variety of personal and physical levels. Patients with head and neck cancer are particularly susceptible to emotional and psychosocial problems because of their own perceived deformity. Depression is a natural reaction and interferes with health and vitality. Difficulty with verbal communication and impaired social interaction are the main problems.
Our support group for laryngectomees began in May 1997. We started with four patients and currently have a total of 115 patients enrolled in the group. The patients are multilingual and multicultural. Interpreters are available to attend the group's meetings as needed. Meetings are held every 3rd Monday of the month. Transportation is provided for those patients in need. Lunch is served at every meeting. Family participation and significant others are encouraged to attend meetings, since they play a very important role in the patients' lives.
A team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, nutritionists, social workers, and speech pathologists attend the support group. Educational topics are discussed and problem solving is immediately done. The goal is to help each patient return to a useful role in society.
The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary
310 East 14th Street (Corner of 2nd Avenue and 14th Street)
New York, NY 10003 (in Manhattan)
11:00 AM, Every Third Monday
Medical Director, Division of Head & Neck Surgery:
Dr. Stimson Schantz
Henedia (Hennie) Sirilan, R.N., B.S.N.
Patricia Blaho, R.D., C.D.N.
If you are a reporter seeking to interview this or any other doctor at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, please contact Jean Thomas, at (212) 979-4274, or Axel F. Bang, at (914) 234-5433.