Authors: Daniela Trandafir, Violeta Trandafir, D. Gogalniceanu


Head and neck cancer surgery is associated with unique sequelae, often involving changes in patients personal identity. In cases where disfigurement, disfunction and threat to personal identity appear as possible consequences of disease management, decissions about treatment planning can become even more complicated than they would otherwise be in treating life-threatening diseases. In cases of head and neck cancers, the question regarding the treatment of choice, or whether treatment should be considered at all, leads to some other questions, such as whether a fundamental change in personal identity can be accepted, or even whether disfigurement/disfunction is seen as impairing the identity at all. Bioethical decision-making requires the integration of virtues with principles, followed by the application of these standards to each patient. The diversity of treatment in head and neck cancer patients is often very high. Therefore, it is important for both patients and medical staff to understand the many facets of adjustment to cancer, and the impact of treatment on the patients quality of life, as well as its medical impact. Psychological support is often necessary in assisting these patients to comply with all the difficulties they will encounter as a result of their illness. Even long-term survivors report difficulties in coping with this condition, and, therefore, clinicians must remember that patients are confronted with a lifetime adaptation when undergoing treatment for head and neck cancer, and they must make appropriate personal changes in order to assist them in ensuring the highest possible quality of life following this treatment.

  • bioethics
  • head and neck cancer
  • surgical treatment