"We are going to take care of this. It’s going to be okay." These were the first words Dr. Peter Costantino said after examining Doug Peck. Dr. Constantino’s diagnosis gave Doug and his mother hope and confidence after years of uncertainty and fear.
Doug, now a college junior majoring in psychology, first began fighting a battle with a growth called an inverting papilloma while in junior high school. An inverting papilloma is a tumor of the lining of the nose that may invade adjacent facial bones, spread to the lymph nodes of the neck and change into cancer. They also tend to recur where they have been previously removed. Doug’s inverting papilloma first presented as a nasal blockage and later a lump in his neck near the back of the jaw. His was first removed from the nose in an operation to treat nasal blockage in early high school.
Soon after this operation, he developed a swelling that led to a second exploratory operation. The tumor was found to be a nerve sheath tumor wrapped around the nerve controlling movement of the shoulder. It was not removed for fear of damage to one of these critical nerves. It was felt by this team of surgeons to be too great of a risk to these nerves to be undertaken. The treatment by this original team of doctors was continued observation as the mass got larger.
Uncomfortable with leaving a potentially malignant tumor growing in their son, after a thorough search and asking many physicians in the New York area, the Pecks contacted Dr. Costantino at the New York Head and Neck Institute, who determined that the mass actually was on the nerve that controls shoulder motion and could probably be safely removed with minimally invasive surgical technique. The Pecks knew that damage to this nerve could result in shoulder drooping and limited shoulder motion, but their fears were eased by Dr. Costantino’s confidence.
In 2011 Doug Peck underwent resection of the tumor, which included a nerve graft, and he has been free of disease since. “Due to the skill of Dr. Costantino and then his following physical therapy, Doug is almost back to 100 percent,” Mrs. Peck said. She notes that Doug keeps on his bookshelf a recovery-room photo of himself and Dr. Costantino “to remind him of this remarkable man and all he has done for my son.
"Dr. Costantino was always there," Doug adds. "We are bonded forever. I hope my story will ease other people’s minds if they have something like this to know that they are in the best hands possible with Dr. Costantino."