Head and Neck Cancer Care

Better Outcomes, Better Function

At UChicago Medicine, our patient-centered care approach effectively treats head and neck cancers with the goal of achieving the best outcome while helping patients maintain the best possible quality of life during and after treatment. 

We provide safe, in-person care at several locations throughout the greater Chicago area, and offer video visits and online second opinions.

Dr. Alexander Pearson and female patient in clinic
UChicago Medicine head and neck cancer specialists care for hundreds of patients each year, making our program one of the busiest in the nation.

Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Head and Neck Cancer Care?

Drs. Haraf, Vokes and Blair
A Team of Cancer Experts

Our head and neck cancer physician team is made up of renowned experts from several specialties, including head and neck surgery, medical and radiation oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, neurosurgery, radiology and pathology. Our team extends to include highly skilled nurses, speech pathologists, therapists and dietitians. Everyone on our team is focused on providing personalized, holistic care.

Arunas Vasys head and neck cancer patient
Outstanding Outcomes

In many cases, "less is better" is the best strategy for treating certain head and neck cancers. We developed an approach that decreases the intensity of treatment based on how well the tumor responds to chemotherapy, resulting in the nation's leading survival rate for HPV-related cancers. In addition, we pioneered a first-line combined chemotherapy and radiation approach that can successfully treat locally advanced oral cavity (mouth) cancers without major surgery.

NCI logo
Nationally Recognized Cancer Care

We're one of only two NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Illinois -- the gold standard for cancer programs that is bestowed upon the nation's top cancer centers. In addition, we're nationally ranked in both cancer and ear, nose and throat care by U.S. News & World Report.

HPV words
Focused Care for HPV+ Cancers

An increasing number of head and neck cancers are caused by HPV, which may require less aggressive treatment approach than tobacco-related cancers. UChicago Medicine researchers found we could successfully treat HPV-related cancers using 40% less radiation, an approach known as "de-escalation." With our approach, survival is 95% at two years.

Chef Grant Achatz, tongue cancer survivor
Preserving Form and Function

We have many decades of experience providing effective cancer-fighting treatments that preserve the voice and ability to speak and swallow. If surgery or reconstruction is needed, our surgeons are skilled at organ-sparing and reconstructive techniques aimed at maintaining a patient's physical appearance and functional abilities.

surgeon at robotic surgery console
Minimally Invasive Options

Our surgeons frequently use minimally invasive surgical techniques that can reduce recovery time, such as transoral robotic surgery and scarless thyroid removal that leaves no visible scars.

Nishant Agrawal, MD, and patient in clinic
Leading-Edge Research and Clinical Trials

UChicago Medicine physician-scientists are truly at the forefront of researching new and better approaches to treating head and neck cancers. Our patients have access to clinical trials of promising treatments that are not widely available.

pembrolizumab illustration
Boosting the Immune System to Fight Cancer

Our specialists were among the first in the nation to offer emerging immunotherapy treatments that harness the power of the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. These treatments are effective at treating advanced, recurrent and metastatic disease.

therapist helping patient with swallowing
Rehabilitation and Support

Because speech and swallowing may be affected during and after treatment, our speech pathologists, therapists and dietitians work one-on-one with patients to improve their chances of making a full recovery.

Chef Triumphs Over Tongue Cancer

Cancer specialists across the country told top chef Grant Achatz that his only option for treating a stage 4 tumor was to remove most of his tongue. The head and neck cancer team at UChicago Medicine offered him a different approach, one that saved his tongue and his life.

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Convenient Locations for Cancer Care

Request an Appointment

The information you provide on this secure form to request an appointment with a UChicago Medicine head and neck cancer expert will enable us to assist you as efficiently as possible. A representative will contact you within one to two business days to help you schedule an appointment.

You can also make an appointment with our providers by:

Scheduling a virtual video visit to see a provider from the comfort of your home

– Newly diagnosed patients can schedule a 15-minute introductory Express Expert Cancer Opinion virtual session at no cost

Requesting an online second opinion from our specialists

To speak to someone directly, please call 1-855-702-8222. If you have symptoms of an urgent nature, please call your doctor or go to the emergency room immediately.


For Referring Physicians

To refer a patient for head and neck cancer care, please call UCM Physician Connect at 1-800-824-2282


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