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Head and Neck Cancers

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We treat cancers, benign tumors and other disorders of the head and neck with the most advanced treatments. These include minimally invasive surgery, reconstruction and rehabilitation, proton therapy and other radiation therapy, innovative clinical trials and immunotherapy.

We are supported by the
Hanna and Mark Gleiberman Head and Neck Cancer Center
,
which funds clinical trials and provides resources for our researchers, physicians and health care teams to help ensure that our patients receive innovative, compassionate care in a healing, supportive environment.

Comprehensive Cancer Care

UC San Diego Health is the only National Cancer Institute -designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in San Diego County and is repeatedly ranked among the nation's best in cancer care by U.S. News & World Report. 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

Team Approach

We are a 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 the Head and Neck Cancer Care 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.

Support Groups and Classes

As a head and neck cancer patient, you have access to a wide range of support services to help you and your family during your treatment. These support services include a Head and Neck Cancer Support Group, as well as chemotherapy classes, radiation therapy therapy classes, mind and body wellness groups, and others.

Find a complete list of groups, classes and events, as well as information on services such as counseling and chaplain services at Patient and Family Support Services

If you use tobacco, you are also invited to join a free smoking cessation program that offers individual counseling sessions with a trained tobacco specialist to help you quit.

Survivorship Care: Supporting Lifelong Wellness

Your team will stay with you for years, offering follow-up care through our survivorship program.

After treatment ends, a dedicated nurse practitioner will provide you with a treatment summary and survivorship care plan. This includes:

  • Surveillance of cancer recurrence
  • Providing screening recommendations for secondary cancers
  • Monitoring and managing late and long-term effects of cancer treatment
  • Management of symptoms
  • Providing referrals to specialists and resources
  • Coordination of care and communication between specialists and primary care providers to ensure that your needs are met
  • Guidance about diet, exercise and health promotion activities

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.


 

Cynthia Zamora was left speechless after UC San Diego Health surgeons, including Dr. Joseph Califano, removed part of her tongue. Her care team created a new tongue for her, using part of her thigh muscle. With help from rehab therapists, she is walking and speaking again. For more about her journey, watch the video or read her story.

Appointments & Referrals

Locations

La Jolla

Hillcrest

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.