Innovation and improvement in surgical technology have resulted in advances such as robot-assisted surgery. For a subset of patients with head and neck malignancies, particularly oropharyngeal carcinoma, transoral robotic surgery (TORS) offers a minimally invasive treatment option. The use of TORS has the potential to reduce morbidity and improve patients' quality of life. As more head and neck cancer patients are offered the option of robotic-assisted surgeries, patients will inevitably look to their GPs for advice and to seek answers.
Head and neck cancer was the seventh most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2016 (Figure 1).1 An estimated 5,212 new cancer diagnoses (3.6%) in 2020 will be for head and neck cancer, with men accounting for nearly three-quarters of these cases. The five-year survival rate for patients with head and neck cancer between 2012 and 2016 was 71%.1 It is therefore important that we look at improving patients’ outcomes beyond that of survival.