Head and Neck Cancer Center

Comprehensive Care for Patients with Cancers, Benign Tumors, and Other Disorders of the Head and Neck

In this video, patient Joe Padilla talks about how a swollen check led him to UC San Diego Health, where a team of specialists including Dr. Ezra Cohen, Dr. Joseph Califano and Dr. Charles Coffey found and removed a cancerous lump under his tongue.

We treat head and neck disease with the most advanced treatments, including minimally invasive surgery, reconstruction and rehabilitation, proton therapy and other radiation therapy, innovative clinical trials, and targeted therapy, including immunotherapy.

Why Choose Us?

UC San Diego Health is ranked among the nation's best in cancer services by U.S. News & World Report, and is the only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in San Diego County. And our care doesn't end with state-of-the-art surgery, innovative clinical trials, and advanced technology. We offer a wide range of programs and services to improve our patients' quality of life, including:

  • Counseling, education and support groups for patients and family members
  • Discharge planning
  • Home health care coordination
  • Professional voice care
  • Survivorship and palliative care services

Every step of the way, our patients experience compassion from people who care in a healing, supportive environment.

Team Approach

We are a multidisciplinary team of professionals that collaborate with you and your health care providers to provide world-class care in a caring, supportive environment. Your care team may include surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, nurses, dietitians, social workers, radiologists, and dental rehabilitation, speech and language specialists, or other physicians and professionals for your personal care plan. Meet our team.

Customized Treatment Strategy

We treat cancers and benign tumors throughout the head and neck. For more information on conditions we treat and how we customize your care, see Treatment Options.

Treatment Highlight: Proton Therapy and Brachytherapy

For patients with tumors in difficult areas, like the skull base close to the optic nerves or brain, we are pleased to offer our patients the option of proton beam radiation and brachytherapy. Dr. Parag Sanghvi is a leader in providing both proton therapy and brachytherapy for head and neck cancer patients. He creates a customized plan for each patient, integrating these therapies with surgery, immunotherapy, and standard chemotherapy. For more information, see Treatment Options.

Patient Story

After several years of trying, the Ingram family was going to have a new addition. But just as Leigh started her second trimester, she got more life-changing news: a diagnosis of stage IV tonsil cancer. To save her life, Leigh was advised to terminate the pregnancy. A second opinion at UC San Diego Health provided other options. Today, Leigh and their baby daughter are healthy.

Appointments & Referrals


La Jolla

Meet Our Specialists

Related Programs

Personalized Care

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We use genetic testing to analyze tumors and tailor treatment to individual patients. See Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy.