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.
We Treat the Full Range of Head and Neck Cancers
Why Choose UChicago Medicine for Head and Neck Cancer Care?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Watch Video Watch Video With Transcript
Convenient Locations for Cancer Care
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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