Sylvester Home to One of Largest Head and Neck Cancer Groups in Nation

Head and Neck Cancer Patients Enjoy Life After Treatment

Dr. Donald Weed, a head and neck surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, explains how patient engagement in their rehabilitation, along with a multidisciplinary team approach to their treatment, are helping them live longer, healthier lives. Mike Pulver is one of those patients.

Dr. Donald Weed is a head and neck surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. For more information about treatments and services for head and neck cancers, click here or visit the UHealth blog.


On his honeymoon 20 years ago, Mike Pulver felt a chronic earache he had just wasn’t right.

“It was the wintertime, common cold, I ignored it, it came and went for four months,” says Mike.

When Mike went to see Dr. Donald Weed, a head and neck surgeon at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, he was diagnosed with stage 4 laryngeal cancer.

“Doctor, tell us what types of conditions you treat at Sylvester?” asks anchor Pam Giganti.

“Our most common cancers are tobacco-related cancers that typically occur in the mouth or the throat, the back part of the tongue, the larynx,” says Donald Weed, M.D.

Sylvester, one of a select few NCI-designated cancer centers in the country, is home to one of the largest head and neck cancer groups nationwide.

“Radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and the pathologists, and the neuroradiologists, all collaborating for the evaluation of what that patient has, and what we think the best treatment approach will be,” Dr. Weed says.

Mike underwent a complex 15-hour surgery.

“We reconstructed him by transplanting skin from the wrist area into the mouth,” says Dr. Weed. “That thin viable skin can then be molded into the shape of the tongue.”

Dr. Weed says a good attitude and engaging in speech and swallowing therapy are keys to success, like Mike, who is cancer-free and enjoying life.

“The staff there at UM Sylvester were terrific. Dr. Weed gave me my life back,” says Mike.


Focusing on You: Innovations in Modern Medicine is a series of healthcare-related stories airing regularly on WPLG Local 10. For more stories like this one, visit YouTube channels for UHealth, the University of Miami Health System.

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