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January 21, 2016 / drjamesfreije

Delayed Treatment Shortens Survival for Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Fox Chase Center pic

Fox Chase Center

Board-certified otolaryngologist Dr. James Freije is an associate with Mount Nittany Physician Group and a cancer liaison representative for Mount Nittany Medical Center’s Cancer Committee. Over the course of his 20-year career, Dr. James Freije has done extensive work in the area of head and neck cancers and written and presented on the subject numerous times.

A recent study done by researchers at the Fox Chase Cancer Center has revealed that delays in treatment can significantly worsen the prognosis for patients with head and neck cancer. The researchers used a national cancer database and looked at more than 51,000 patients who were diagnosed with head and neck cancers between 1998 and 2011. They found that starting treatment within 46 days of being diagnosed resulted in the best survival rates. After that point, survival declined from over 72 months to 61 months when treatment was between 53 and 67 days and to just under 47 months for treatment after 67 days.

Although concern about treatment delays has long been an issue in the medical field, head and neck cancer patients are at a particularly high risk due to the rapid progression of such tumors. However, it is a complicated problem because getting referrals and second opinions naturally takes time. Further, head and neck cancer patients often have more consultations, including with dentists and speech pathologists, than patients with some others types of cancer.

January 5, 2016 / drjamesfreije

Understanding Salivary Gland Cancer

Salivary Gland Cancer  pic

Salivary Gland Cancer

State College, Pennsylvania, otolaryngologist Dr. James Freije has extensive experience in diagnosing and treating conditions of the head and neck. One such condition is salivary gland cancer, which Dr. James Freije typically addresses with surgery.

There are numerous small salivary glands inside the mouth and throat, but the major salivary glands come in three pairs. The submandibular glands are below the jawbone, the sublingual glands are on the floor of the mouth, and the parotid glands are just below the ears. Of the three sets, the parotid glands are the largest and the most likely to develop tumors. Those who have undergone radiation treatments to the head and neck or been exposed to workplace substances such as asbestos are at a high risk for this type of cancer.

After an unusual lump, pain, or change in normal oral functioning prompts an investigation, the physician will order imaging tests such as an MRI and CT scan. A biopsy of the suspicious tissue can help determine if the tumor is cancerous. Treatments for salivary gland cancer depend upon several factors, including the size and stage of the cancer. Small, localized tumors can often be removed surgically without complications. Larger tumors may require removing the entire salivary gland along with any affected surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. In such cases, reconstructive surgery may be necessary to restore the patient’s appearance and ability to function normally.

December 18, 2015 / drjamesfreije

A Brief Overview of Cystic Hygroma

Cystic Hygroma pic

Cystic Hygroma

A dedicated otolaryngology and head and neck surgeon, Dr. James Freije currently treats adults and children as an associate at Mount Nittany Physician Group in State College, Pennsylvania. Possessing more than two decades of experience in his field, Dr. James Freije is familiar with a wide range of medical issues, including cystic hygroma.

The result of an error during the development of lymph vessels and sacs in a fetus, cystic hygromas are fluid-filled sacs found either individually or as a group in the neck. Although they can develop during a person’s life, they are most often associated with fetuses between nine and 16 weeks of pregnancy. If left untreated in a fetus, cystic hygroma may advance to hydrops and possibly fetal death. They may also cause edema, webbed neck, or a lymphangioma and, in some cases, may grow larger than the fetus itself.

Cystic hygromas may result from genetic, environmental, or unknown factors. Maternal viral infections or substance abuse are possible environmental causes, while Noonan syndrome and chromosome abnormalities are possible genetic causes. Most often, cystic hygromas are detected during routine ultrasounds once the mother is around 10 weeks pregnant. However, they can also be found through blood testing done at 15 or 20 weeks of pregnancy to check for the mother’s alpha-fetoprotein levels.

December 4, 2015 / drjamesfreije

AAO-HNSF Building First Otolaryngology-Specific Data Registry



An otolaryngologist with more than two decades of experience, Dr. James Freije provides comprehensive care to children and adults as an associate with the Mount Nittany Physician Group. Dedicated to staying active within his professional community, Dr. James Freije belongs to several organizations, including the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Foundation (AAO-HNSF), a part of the world’s largest ENT organization dedicated to advancing the field, recently announced at its Annual Meeting and OTO Expo that it is working with healthcare quality measurement provider FIGmd to develop a new clinical data registry. Called Regent, the registry is the first clinical data registry that is specific to otolaryngology and will serve as the foundation for quality improvement, clinical and product research, and certification and licensure support. The AAO-HNSF hopes that by creating Regent, it will be better able to invest in the organization’s members’ future.

Current plans for Regent focus on creating a registry that finds potential gaps in clinician performance and knowledge by documenting various care outcomes from professionals in the field. The registry will keep track of treatment effectiveness and disease progression in patients. Additionally, it will assist with reporting for private and federal quality reporting programs, prepare alternative payment models for patients, and aid with post-market observation of different drugs and medical devices.

November 24, 2015 / drjamesfreije

Recovering After an Ethmoidectomy

Ethmoidectomy pic


Dr. James Freije, an otolaryngology and head and neck surgery associate with Mount Nittany Physician Group, provides comprehensive care to adults and children in Pennsylvania. Having built a successful career in the field over the past two decades, Dr. James Freije has become highly skilled in a broad range of treatments and surgical options, such as ethmoidectomies.

November 9, 2015 / drjamesfreije

MRI Scans May Predict Chemotherapy’s Effects on Head and Neck Cancer

Dr. James Freije, an associate in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery with Mount Nittany Physician Group, has given a number of presentations and written several publications about head and neck cancer throughout his career. In addition to his medical practice, Dr. James Freije serves on the Cancer Committee for the Mount Nittany Medical Center.

It was recently discovered by a team of researchers at the University of Manchester that it may be possible to predict, through the use of MRI scans, how patients with head and neck cancer will respond to chemotherapy treatment. Current treatment for such patients often involves using chemotherapy prior to radiotherapy or surgery in an attempt to slow the progression of the disease. However, researchers believed that pre-treatment chemotherapy was less effective among patients who had tumors with low blood flow. While blood flow has previously been assessed using CT scans, this is the first time an MRI technique was used.

Researchers used a dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI to check vessel structure and blood flow within a tumor. This imaging technique involves injecting a tracing agent into the body while taking MRI scans to follow its movement. The most recent study found that the blood flow recorded in a patient’s tumor was an effective predictor of how they responded to induction chemotherapy. Higher blood flow led to the most beneficial results. Researchers hope that this new information will improve patient outcomes by helping physicians determine whether or not an individual will actually benefit from induction chemotherapy.

October 28, 2015 / drjamesfreije

Becoming a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons

Dedicated to providing high-quality care in otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, Dr. James Freije treats adults and children as an associate with Mount Nittany Physician Group in State College, Pennsylvania. An active member of his professional community, Dr. James Freije belongs to several organizations and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).

An educational and scientific association, the ACS has been dedicated to improving surgical patient care and surgical standards since 1913. Members of the organization are granted a wide range of opportunities and benefits and may join at various levels. Fellows of the ACS are surgeons who agree to the ethical and professional standards of the ACS and have committed themselves to surgical practice. Fellowship fees for the United States and Canada are $200, while international fellowship fees vary depending on an applicant’s country of residence.

There are several requirements that a surgeon must meet for eligibility as an ACS Fellow. They must be certified by an American Surgical Specialty Board, have at least one year of practice experience following all formal training, and be on the surgical staff at a hospital without any pending actions. Additionally, applicants are expected to have a full surgical and medical license within the area they practice. The application process for becoming a Fellow can last for up to a year, and applications must include a surgical list of all cases completed during a 12-month period.