Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer can affect vital functions and make it difficult to swallow, speak, and breathe. It can also affect your self-image, before and after treatment.

UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s skilled and compassionate head and neck cancer team strives to preserve both life and quality of life, understanding patients’ concerns about their skin and facial symmetry. Our challenge is not only to cure head and neck cancer but also to restore or safeguard vital organs and functions, all while ensuring there is no damage to your appearance.

As an academic medical center and the only cancer program in North Texas designated by the National Cancer Institute, we can provide access to the latest treatment approaches that may not be available at other institutions – and many are researched right here at UT Southwestern.

Latest Treatments

Head and neck cancers cover many different organs. Some of the more common head and neck cancers are those that develop in the:

  • Sinus cavity (sinuses)
  • Nasopharynx
  • Oral cavity (including tongue and tonsil)
  • Oropharynx
  • Hypopharynx
  • Larynx

We also specialize in treating thyroid cancer, which is one of the fastest-growing cancer diagnoses but one that, with proper treatment, can be cured nearly 100 percent of the time.

Thyroid cancers we specialize in include:

  • Papillary thyroid cancer
  • Follicular thyroid cancer
  • Anaplastic thyroid cancer
  • Medullary thyroid cancer

We offer all major treatments for head and neck cancer, including:

Our surgeons treat head and neck cancers exclusively, giving them the skill they need to operate in small areas of the body. Their skill is complemented by minimally invasive tools such as the da Vinci robot.

Co-leader of UT Southwestern’s head and neck cancer program Baran Sumer, M.D., performed Dallas’s first transoral robotic surgery (TORS) to remove tumors in the throat – leading the trend toward TORS for head and neck cancers.

In order to treat the whole patient, not just the cancer, we also offer other resources you may need during your cancer journey, including nutrition counselingsupport groups for you and your family, physical therapy and rehabilitation, lifestyle education, genetic counseling, and much more.

Clinical Trials

Because of UT Southwestern’s access to cutting-edge clinical trials, treatment for your head and neck cancer may not be the same as someone who’s receiving care somewhere else in the area.

For example, UT Southwestern will be the only North Texas location for an upcoming international immunotherapy trial testing a drug that stimulates the immune system to fight off head and neck cancer. We also offer multiple radiation therapy trials for head and neck cancer patients in which new approaches are providing higher doses of radiation in shorter periods of time with the same successes but with fewer side effects for patients.

In addition, doctors at UT Southwestern have developed and are running several national clinical trials treating the most aggressive thyroid cancers. These involve strategies such as targeting genetic mutations in the cancer, as well as using the immune system to destroy cancer cells.

Meet the Team

We take a team-based approach to your care. Our radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and surgeons who work closely with radiologists, pathologists, speech therapists, speech pathologists, and others to coordinate and deliver a treatment plan put together just for you.

Meet all of our head and neck cancer specialists.

Request an Appointment

To schedule an appointment with a head and neck cancer specialist, request an appointment or call 214-645-8300.