Head and Neck Cancer

The term "head and neck cancer" refers to tumors that can occur in the throat, larynx (voice box), nose, sinuses and mouth. This type of cancer is rare and it is important to be treated at an institution like Virginia Mason where specialists with years of experience have successfully treated thousands of head and neck cancer patients. Our targeted and focused approach starts with an individual plan of care uniquely created for each patient. This treatment plan is developed by a multidisciplinary team that includes surgical, radiological and medical oncologists as well as plastic and reconstructive surgeons with support from other cancer care professionals such as nurses and nutritionists.

State-of-the-Art Diagnosis and Treatment

Surgery, radiation or chemotherapy are options in the treatment of head and neck cancer. Surgery at Virginia Mason is often done using minimally invasive procedures, including the use of an endoscopic laser, that provide for shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times.

Virginia Mason is known for being a leader in using state-of-the-art imaging and procedures to ensure that head and neck cancer patients receive the best possible radiological assessment and treatment. It was the first medical center in the state of Washington to offer intraoperative radiation therapy (IORT) in a clinical trial. A collaboration between surgeons and radiation oncologists, IORT provides a single dose of radiation at the time of surgery to eligible patients. IORT can help protect tissue surrounding a tumor from the impact of radiation therapy.

Personal Guidance

Patients have a cancer care coordinator assigned to them to answer their questions and coordinate their care. This person is with each patient every step of the way from diagnosis through treatment and recovery.

Video of tongue cancer patient on KOMO new

Clinical Trials

Virginia Mason is a leading cancer clinical trial site, offering more than 60 cancer-related clinical trials each year, including studies sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and industry-sponsored drug trials. Patients benefit from Virginia Mason's Benaroya Research Institute (BRI), a world-renowned research institution that is looking at the causes and cures of autoimmune diseases, and is making those discoveries available to patients through translational (bench to bedside) medicine. BRI cancer trials include the use of chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapies, as well quality-of-life and symptom management trials. Learn more about our current head and neck cancer clinical trials.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, please call (206) 341-0675.