Nishant Agrawal

UChicago Faculty Physicians

Nishant Agrawal, MD

Professor of Surgery Co-Director, Head and Neck Surgical Oncology
Chief, Section of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

[MUSIC PLAYING] Hi, I'm Nishant Agrawal. My specialty is ENT or Otolaryngology-- head and neck surgery. Within ENT, I specialize in head and neck cancer surgery. And I treat benign and cancerous masses and growths on the head and neck area.

I chose medicine probably very early on in my childhood. My maternal grandmother, my grandmother, fought and ultimately died from breast cancer. And I think that left a major impression on me growing up. So as long as and as far as I can remember, I've always wanted to pursue cancer, both its treatment and research.

Our emphasis is truly a multidisciplinary approach to treat and cure head and neck cancer. Every case is discussed in a multidisciplinary head and neck tumor board with representation from surgical oncology, medical oncology, radiation oncology, and other health care experts. And we have very high volume of head and neck cancer that we treat with some of the best outcomes in the country and the world.

My philosophy of care is I treat every patient and their family as they were my family. I maintain a fairly informal relationship with them, which is good or bad. But a lot of times, we're on first name basis.

And I always get asked, what would you do? And my answer is I would only tell you what I would do for myself or my family. That's how we approach it. That's how I think of things, and your interest is the only thing I care about.

The procedures we focus on are the gamut of procedures related to the management of head and neck cancer and other benign masses. And they range from minimally invasive approaches, such as procedures through the mouth, open procedures, and also robotic procedures. We personalize and customize each approach based on the tumor and the patient.


UChicago Faculty Physicians who provide services at UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial are not employees or agents of UChicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial.

Nishant Agrawal, MD, specializes in the management of patients with benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck.

Dr. Agrawal's work has achieved international recognition in the field of head and neck surgical oncology, and head and neck cancer genetics. Under his leadership, a team of researchers completed a landmark study that examined the genome of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. His group followed up by publishing the genomic landscapes of the remaining major head and neck cancers, including esophageal squamous cell carcinoma, esophageal adenocarcinoma, medullary thyroid cancer, adenoid cystic carcinoma and mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Dr. Agrawal then applied these findings to identify tumor DNA as a biomarkers that improve cancer diagnostics in the saliva and plasma of patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. His research is focused on the application of cancer genetics to design diagnostic approaches to reduce morbidity and mortality from head and neck cancer.

In addition to his clinical and research contributions, Dr. Agrawal is an accomplished educator — teaching medical students, residents and fellows about the management of patients with head and neck cancer.

Board Certifications

  • Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery

Memberships & Medical Societies

  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
  • American Thyroid Association
  • American Head and Neck Society
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Medical Association
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology

Languages Spoken

  • English
  • Hindi

Medical Education

  • Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine


  • Johns Hopkins Medicine


  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

News & Research

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  • Aetna HMO (specialists only)
  • Aetna POS
  • Aetna PPO
  • BCBS Blue Precision HMO (specialists only)
  • BCBS HMO (HMOI) (specialists only)
  • Cigna HMO
  • Cigna POS
  • Cigna PPO
  • CountyCare *see insurance page
  • Aetna Better Health *see insurance page
  • Medicare
  • Multiplan PPO
  • United Choice Plus POS/PPO
  • United Options (PPO)
  • United Select (HMO & EPO) (specialists only)
  • United W500 Emergent Wrap
  • Aetna Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • BCBS Medicare Advantage HMO & PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Choice PPO
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Choice PFFS
  • Humana Medicare Advantage Gold Plus HMO
  • United Choice HMO (specialists only)
  • University of Chicago Health Plan (UCHP)

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Head and Neck Cancer Treatment: Expert Q & A

Head and neck surgeon Nishant Agrawal, MD, and medical oncologist Ari Rosenberg, MD, answer questions about head and neck cancer diagnosis and treatment, and share details about advances in treatment and research.

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