Providence offers comprehensive oral, head and neck cancer care at new clinic

February 08, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. — Specialists have joined together at Providence Cancer Center to create a comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation clinic for patients battling oral, head and neck cancers. R. Bryan Bell, M.D., D.D.S., serves as medical director for Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Clinic. He has led the specialty program since 2010.

More than 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancers this year. More than 8,000 will die – roughly one every hour of every day. The cancers sometimes require extensive treatment involving removal of the patient’s jaw bone and tongue. There can also be a long rehabilitation, including jaw reconstruction, to help patients speak and eat again.

Providence formed the new clinic because of the need for comprehensive and compassionate patient care involving these cancers. The clinic is unique to the Northwest.

“Providence has made a major commitment to bridging the divide between medicine and dentistry,” said Dr. Bell. “And that is absolutely necessary to give the best care possible to patients with these types of cancers.

“These patients require a unique and diverse set of skills from clinicians considering the concentration of senses in this rather small area of the body – speech, hearing, chewing and swallowing. The multidisciplinary clinic houses a team of some of the nation’s most specialized medical and dental cancer care providers who have come together to offer a comprehensive and innovative approach to the disease.”

Joining Dr. Bell are head and neck surgeon Tuan Bui, M.D., D.M.D., and maxillofacial prosthodontist Alberto Ambard, D.D.S. Dr. Bui specializes in microvascular reconstructive surgery and Dr. Ambard is experienced in implant-supported prosthetic rehabilitation for oral-facial defects resulting from head and neck cancers and their treatment. In addition, these experts work alongside radiation, medical and dental oncologists, speech and swallowing pathologists, dentists, nurses, audiologists, nutritionists and social workers.

"The highly anticipated opening of the Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Clinic is a major step in the advancement of patient care, research and scientific discovery aimed at curing the oral, head and neck cancers that afflict more and more Americans,” said Dr. Bell. “This is not only an exceptional time for Providence Health & Services, but also for cancer patients throughout the Pacific Northwest.  I am honored to be working with this outstanding group of individuals."

The team of specialists allows patients to receive all of their treatment and follow-up care on the same campus, which provides for a connected experience of care with the least amount of stress.

Providence Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Clinic is located at Providence Cancer Center on the Providence Portland Medical Center campus.