Oral & Facial Cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is one of the most troubling times in a patient’s life. Cancer of the face or mouth strikes at the source of a patient’s identity and involves much of who we are. Dr. Shirley recognizes the emotional challenges faced by cancer patients and strives to care for his patients with the highest level of compassion. Dr. Shirley is one of the few Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons in Texas who is fellowship-trained in surgical removal of head & neck cancers and microvascular reconstruction. He has authored multiple textbook chapters and publications on oral cancer and reconstruction. He is associate faculty at LSU Health Shreveport in the head and neck and microvascular reconstruction division. He is associate faculty for the Maxillofacial Oncology and Reconstructive division at John Peter Smith Hospital in Ft. Worth.

Oral Cancer

Most forms of cancer in the mouth are discovered as an ulcer or sore that will not heal. During an oral exam, we look for signs of oral cancer. If any suspicious areas are found, a biopsy will be taken and sent to a lab to establish a diagnosis since other non-cancerous lesions can look very similar. Although most oral cancers are best treated with surgery, other specialists in Radiation Oncology and Medical Oncology are often involved after surgery when needed. Dr. Shirley works closely with these other doctors to coordinate the best possible care. Additional specialists may include Speech Therapists, General Dentists, and Prosthodontists.

Dr. Shirley focuses on restoring the highest quality of life for oral cancer patients. This often involves dental implant to replace teeth lost to cancer. While most surgical centers delay dental implants and tooth replacement, Dr. Shirley is one of the few oral cancer surgeons in Texas to offer immediate dental implants when possible to minimize the time without teeth. In select cases, teeth can be placed on the dental implants during the surgery removing the cancer.