Our ability to hear, to speak, to smell or to swallow are senses that many can take for granted. But imagine losing the ability to hear a child’s laughter or to smell your favourite foods. While perhaps not life threatening, such things can significantly affect our ability to enjoy even life’s simplest pleasures.
The specialty of Otolaryngology (or ENT) involves the treatment of all medical and surgical disorders of the ear, nose, throat and related structures of the head and neck; including cancers. Apart from oncology, troubles such as allergies, laryngitis, chronic sinus, ear infections, and hearing and balance disorders can play a major factor in a patient’s quality of life.
The field has seen some amazing technological advances, such as cochlear implants to reverse deafness, minimizing invasive surgeries with lasers and endoscopes to name a few.
Dr Arif Janjua, President of the BC Otolaryngology Society, states “within each department of surgery we are a small specialty in numbers, but our services are huge in demand.” Currently there are about 90 ENT specialists in BC and the call for their services is high. The specialty’s number one issue is an inability to meet patients’ surgical needs due to limited availability of operative resources. That leads to the second biggest issue, long wait times.
Dr Janjua’s section continues to work with SSC to identify issues that SSC can help to address. “Our specialty’s adoption of novel technologies allows us to greatly improve a patient’s quality of life in many quantifiable ways; the demand is there, we just need more resources.”