Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
The surgical, radiation, and medical oncologists at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center work to develop the best treatment plan for you.
Eliminating the cancer is the primary goal of head and neck cancer treatment, but it is also important to preserve the function of surrounding organs and tissues.
Our head and neck cancer expertise is used to develop a personalized treatment plan for each person’s case.
Head and Neck Cancer Specialty Care
Our multidisciplinary team of head and neck cancer experts provides special care for people who have advanced or metastatic cancers. We also see those who want a second opinion.
Learn more about Head and Neck Cancer Specialty Care.
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Options
Your head and neck cancer treatment will depend on:
- The type and location of your cancer.
- The stage of your cancer.
- Your goals of cancer treatment.
Based on these and other factors, your team may suggest one or more of the following treatments:
- Surgery – this may be endoscopic or minimally invasive surgery – uses minimally invasive and robotic techniques to remove cancerous and noncancerous head and neck tumors.
- Drug therapy (chemotherapy or immunotherapy) – uses drugs to target and kill cancer cells
- Radiation therapy – uses high-energy x-rays or concentrated radioactive materials to safely kill cancer cells.
Depending on the type of cancer and the severity, doctors may use a single treatment or combined treatment approach. Your doctors will determine the best approach based on your specific cancer.
Managing Side Effects of Head and Neck Treatment
Side effects vary depending on which treatment you receive.
Some overall common side effects of head and neck cancer treatments may include:
- Loss of appetite.
- Pain with swallowing.
- Risk of infection.
Once your care team designs a treatment plan they will explain possible side effects.
Services available to help manage head and neck cancer treatment side effects include:
Making Decisions About Head and Neck Treatment
After you receive a cancer diagnosis, there are many decisions you need to make about treatment. Your doctor will work with you to choose the right treatment(s) for your specific head and neck cancer.
Your doctor will help you understand:
- Your diagnosis.
- Treatment(s) options.
- The goal of your treatment plan.
- Benefits and risks.
Head and Neck Cancer Clinical Trials
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides access to clinical trials of head and neck cancer treatments that may not be available elsewhere. This research allows advancements in our understanding and treatment of cancer.
Clinical trials are valuable to both researchers and patients. Not sure when you should consider taking part in a trial? Learn more about the value of taking part in a clinical trials and find available clincal trials.