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Surgery for Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary

Surgery may include neck dissection. There are different procedures based on the amount of tissue to be removed.

  • Radical neck dissection to remove tissues in one or both sides of the neck between the jawbone and the collarbone, including all lymph nodes, the jugular vein and muscles and nerves that are used for face, neck and shoulder movement, speech and swallowing. Patients may need physical therapy of the throat, neck, shoulder and/or arm after radical neck dissection.
  • Modified radical neck dissection to remove all the lymph nodes in one or both sides of the neck without removing the neck muscles. The nerves and/or jugular vein may be removed.
  • Partial neck dissection to remove some of the lymph nodes in the neck, also called selective neck dissection.

What is Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary? 

Metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary is a disease in which squamous cell cancer spreads to lymph nodes in the neck, and it is not known where the cancer first formed in the body.

Your doctor will try to find the primary tumor. When tests cannot locate a primary tumor, it is called an occult (hidden) primary tumor. In many cases the primary tumor is never found.