Oklahomans face an annual epidemic. Not the swine flu or some exotic virus strain from a foreign land. Something far more common kills more Oklahomans each year. This epidemic often leads to cancer attacking the head and neck area. Tongues are removed along with the ability to taste. Decaying jaw bones are replaced with portions of leg bone. Saliva glands and voice boxes are extracted, along with the ability to swallow and speak.
Tobacco use by Oklahomans is the leading cause of premature death in smokers. There are more than 600,000 smokers in the state, an epidemic number according to the Oklahoma Tobacco Use Prevention & Cessation Advisory Committee. With thousands of adolescents becoming addicted to tobacco annually in Oklahoma, the state will continue to battle tobacco-related cancers for the foreseeable future.
At the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center-Oklahoma's most comprehensive cancer care center-Greg Krempl, MD, is part of the state's only board of specialists who focus solely on cancer affecting the nose, mouth and throat.
"Patients who come to OU Medicine receive collective opinions and the knowledge of multiple specialists in one setting," Dr. Krempl, the Cancer Center Otolaryngologist, says. "This approach creates limitless collaboration in finding new ways to keep people healthy. As a group we discuss each patient's situation at multiple times during treatment, which leads us to better decisions. Most centers only review cases once as a group."
Renowned for extensive experience and innovative approaches to cancer care, the Cancer Center treats 90 percent of Oklahoma's newly diagnosed head and neck cancer patients. Cancer patients treated at academic medical facilities benefit from continuous research and trials designed to push health care in a better direction. Furthermore, there is mounting evidence that connects positive outcomes to treatment of high volumes of cancer cases.
"There are numerous examples of how academic medical facilities lead the charge toward providing
patients with another level of medicine that is less invasive and offers fewer risks and faster recovery times," Dr. Krempl says. "We are the only provider in the state, for example, with video-assisted surgery. We also expect in the next several months to become the only FDA-approved facility to conduct robotic surgery on head and neck cancer. And, we are the only Oklahoma center providing cancer removal surgery and advanced reconstructive surgery in one operation."
As with most cancers, the impact of head and neck cancer extends well beyond the patient to the entire family, which is why the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Oklahoma Cancer Center diligently focuses on providing comprehensive cancer care during the full circle of care.
"From detection to diagnosis to treatment, we help families navigate the physical and emotional challenges associated with cancer," Dr. Krempl says. "We assign patient navigators to each family to ensure they get what they need, when they need it."
800 NE 10th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73104
Patient Appointments: 855-750-CARE (2273) Contact Us