Head and neck cancer refers to a broad spectrum of malignant tumors that develop on or near your head. These can include cancers of the mouth, nose, and throat as well as tumors of the salivary glands and skull bones. If you or someone you love has recently been diagnosed with a cancer affecting the head or neck, you may not know exactly what this diagnosis means.
Because these cancers can affect vital functions such as breathing or swallowing, caring for patients with head and neck cancers requires expertise and compassion. At the Head and Neck Cancer Center at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper, our doctors offer you the most advanced treatments with the best possible outcomes – with compassion and respect.
Why Choose MD Anderson Cooper for Head and Neck Cancer Care?
As a partner with the nation’s leading cancer care hospital MD Anderson Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cooper offers head and neck cancer care expertise. You benefit from our:
- Advanced diagnostic capabilities: Our imaging specialists use advanced diagnostic imaging such as CT, PET-CT, and other image-guided tests to detect head and neck cancers, with precision. The more we learn about a particular cancer from these tests, the better we can effectively treat it.
- Comprehensive treatments: Your skilled care team will include head and neck surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oral surgeons, and others. Working together, they prepare a customized plan of care just for you. Treatments may include innovative radiation therapy, surgery, and targeted drug therapies.
- Clinical research efforts: Because of our focus on cancer research, you have access to promising clinical trials that may improve your outcomes and quality of life.
- Dedicated nurse navigator: Our dedicated nurse navigator will help you better understand your treatment options while addressing any questions you have about your care.
- Full range of support services: Our support care services such as nutrition counseling and behavioral medicine therapies can help you navigate cancer treatment. Learn more about our extensive cancer care support services.
Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms
Your symptoms will depend on where the cancer is located. The most common symptoms associated with head and neck cancers include:
- A noticeable lump or swelling in the neck that doesn’t go away
- Unexplained weight loss
- A sore in your mouth that bleeds easily
- Red or white patches in your mouth
- A chronic sore throat
- A change in your voice, called dysphonia
- A high-pitched sound while you’re breathing, called stridor
- Having a hard time chewing or swallowing, called dysphagia
- Pain in the neck, throat, or ear that lasts a long time
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
The treatment of head and neck cancer is complex. Your care team will consider multiple factors, such as how far the cancer has spread, before deciding how best to treat you.
The most common treatment strategies for head and neck cancer include either:
- Surgery first, with or without radiation and/or chemotherapy after surgery
- Radiation therapy first, with or without chemotherapy upfront, ending with surgery only if you are not responding to treatment
At MD Anderson Cooper, our cancer experts utilize innovative treatment options for the best possible outcomes. We offer the following surgical treatments:
- Transoral robotic surgery
- Transoral laser microsurgery
- Endoscopic sinus and skull-base tumor surgery
- Minimally invasive thyroid and parathyroid surgery
- Microvascular reconstructive surgery
- Image-guided surgery
We also offer these other treatment options:
- CyberKnife® Robotic Radiosurgery, Gamma Knife® Perfexion™, and traditional radiation therapy
- Cutting-edge chemo and targeted therapies
- Speech, swallowing, and hearing evaluation and rehabilitation
- A full range of options for voice restoration
To learn more about the head and neck cancer services available at MD Anderson Cooper or to schedule an appointment, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).
Refer a Patient
If you are a doctor who wants to refer a head or neck cancer patient to MD Anderson Cooper, please call 855.MDA.COOPER (855.632.2667).