Approximately 58,000 Americans will be diagnosed with a head and neck cancer this year; although it is a serious disease, it is highly treatable — especially when detected early — and impacts to appearance and function (such as eating, speaking and swallowing) can be minimized or reversed.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a head and neck cancer, talk to us about treatment options. At City of Hope, our dedicated team of experts take a patient-centered approach to diagnosing and treating this group of cancers, including tumors and cancers of the:

  • oral cavity (including lips, mouth and tongue)
  • throat (pharynx, including nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx)
  • voicebox (larynx)
  • paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity
  • salivary, thyroid and parathyroid glands
  • skin, muscle and bone in the head/neck region

Our multidisciplinary staff pursues an integrated approach to treating head and neck cancers by combining the latest research findings with outstanding patient care. This includes using advanced technologies and specialized techniques such as:

  • Innovative, minimally invasive surgical approaches that reduce side effects and recovery time
  • Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) and transoral laser microsurgery (TLM) using orally inserted therapy tools, eliminating the need for external incisions, scarring and other complications
  • Highly precise radiation delivery
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures that can restore appearance and function
  • Individually customized chemotherapy and targeted therapy regimens
  • Comprehensive rehabilitation program to help restore normal functions (eating, speaking, swallowing) after treatment

Additionally, City of Hope patients have access to our extensive team of supportive care experts, who will help you and your caregivers achieve and maintain a better quality of life during and after your cancer treatment.

City of Hope is a nationally recognized leader in the research and treatment of head and neck cancers. We are one of the few facilities designated a Comprehensive Cancer Center by the National Cancer Institute, and for over a decade, U.S. News & World Report has named City of Hope one of the top cancer hospitals in America. Our physicians have also been consistently named "America's Top Doctors" by Castle Connolly.

If you have been diagnosed with head or neck cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

Learn more about symptoms and risk factors of head and neck cancers.

Care Team

City of Hope’s renowned physicians and researchers utilize the latest in technology and innovation to treat cancer, coupled with our enduring belief in providing unparalleled compassionate care.

Sanjay Awasthi, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Medical Oncology
Joe Chao, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Medical Oncology
Bihong (Beth) Chen
Bihong (Beth) Chen, M.D., Ph.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Diagnostic Radiology
Generic Faculty Photo
Joel B. Epstein, D.M.D., M.S.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Oral Medicine
Robert Kang
Robert S. Kang, M.D., M.P.H.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
  • Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery
Dean W. Lim, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Medical Oncology
Ellie Maghami, M.D., F.A.C.S.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery
Sagus Sampath, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Radiation Oncology
Tommy Tong, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Pathology-Anatomic & Clinical
Lalit H. Vora,

Clinical Specialties:

  • Diagnostic Radiology
Nayana L Vora, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Radiation Oncology
John Hosei Yim, M.D.

Clinical Specialties:

  • Surgical Oncology

Success Stories

Kurt Deetz Success Story Image
Kurt, head and neck cancer survivor

"Cancer hates positive people … I truly feel that I am cancer-free today because of my positive attitude.”

Tests & Treatments

Every patient is different, with different needs. At City of Hope, we treat you as a valued individual. Our entire head and neck cancer team works together to bring you advanced surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, hormone and supportive care options that will deliver the best clinical and functional outcomes for you. You can also enroll in clinical trials for promising treatments that are not offered elsewhere.

Highlights of City of Hope's head and neck treatment program include:

  • Minimally invasive and robotically-assisted surgical procedures to remove tumors. By using smaller incisions compared open surgery, patients experience less pain, recover faster, have shorter hospital stays and are less likely to have complications.
  • For certain tumors, patients may be eligible for transoral robotic surgery (TORS), which operates using miniature surgical tools guided through a narrow, orally-inserted tube. This eliminates the need for external incisions and further reduces recovery time.
  • Highly-precised radiation that can be sculpted to the shape of the tumor, maximizing its impact on cancer cells while reducing radiation exposure to nearby head and neck tissues, minimizing functional and cosmetic side effects.
  • Individually-tailored chemotherapy that are more effective in killing cancer cells and can enhance the effectiveness of other treatments.
  • Plastic and reconstructive surgeons who can restore appearance and function through a variety of specialized procedures, including bone reconstruction, tissue grafts and microvascular surgery.
  • A comprehensive rehabilitation program dedicated to restoring the patient's ability to speak, swallow, eat, drink and breathe as soon as possible. Our broad range of services include physical and occupational therapy, speech pathology, dietary counseling and supportive care medicine programs.

Your care continues long after treatment is completed, and we are committed to helping you and your loved ones manage your recovery.

Learn more about treatment options for specific head and neck cancers.

Clinical Trials

City of Hope is a recognized leader in thyroid cancer research. We offer access to numerous clinical trials and new therapies that are not readily available elsewhere. Our latest research includes developing more precise surgical and radiation techniques for better tumor removal, identifying drugs that can better fight the cancer throughout the body and boosting quality of life for our patients and survivors.

Our current head and neck clinical trials include:

14145: Phase II Randomized Trial of Transoral Surgical Resection Followed by Low-dose or Standard-dose IMRT in Resectable p16+ Locally Advanced Oropharynx Cancer

14255: STAT3 Signaling During Chemo-Radiation for Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

14340: A Phase II, Randomized, Open-Label, Multi-Center, Global Study of MEDI4736 Monotherapy, Tremelimumab Monotherapy, and MEDI4736 in Combination with Tremelimumab in Patients with Recurrent or Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN)

14258: Randomized Phase II and Phase III Studies of Individualized Treatment for Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Based on Biomarker Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA)

09188: A Multi-Histology Phase II Study of 5-Fluoro-2'-Deoxycytidine with Tetrahydrouridine (FdCyd+THU)


When you come to City of Hope, you automatically gain access to an unparalleled array of support services to help you and your family take each step during and after your head and neck cancer treatment. We can help with all of these concerns, and more:

  • Managing side effects
  • Pain management
  • Restoring your ability to eat, drink, speak and swallow
  • Smoking/tobacco cessation
  • Navigating the health care system
  • Your emotional, social and spiritual health
  • Handling and coping with stress
  • Staying healthy and active
  • Healthy cooking and eating
  • Healing arts
  • Caregiver skills
  • Restoring normalcy in your family, job or school routine

Learn more about these resources at our Living with Cancer or Supportive Care Medicine sites.

Support the Head and Neck Cancer Program

We deliver exquisite care at the leading edge of cancer treatment. It takes the help of a lot of caring people to make hope a reality for our patients. City of Hope was founded by individuals' philanthropic efforts over 100 years ago. Their efforts - and those of our supporters today - have built the foundation for the care we provide and the research we conduct. It enables City of Hope to strive for new breakthroughs and better therapies - helping more people enjoy longer, better lives.

For more information on supporting this specific program, please contact Julie Hara, senior development officer, at [email protected] or 626-218-0869.

Or, you can Donate Now to make a gift to support all the research at City of Hope.

An Expert's Voice

City of Hope experts cover prevention, screening, treatment and other cancer topics on City of Hope’s Breakthrough’s blog.

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