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Head and Neck Cancers

​​​​​​​​​​​Head and Neck Oncologists diagnose and treat cancers that involve the head and neck area.

These include tumors of the lip, tongue, inside lining of the mouth, gums, sinuses, salivary glands, upper and lower part of the throat, nasal pathways and voice box. 

Successful treatment of cancers of the head and neck usually require a combination of treatments including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. 

Our cancer specialists detect and treat these types of cancers.


The treatment of head and neck cancer depends on the size and location of the tumor, whether the cancer has spread and the person's overall health. 

A team of doctors will work with the patient to determine the best treatment plan.


The purpose of surgery is to remove the tumor and some of the healthy tissue around it so that no cancerous tissue remains. 

If the cancer has spread, the lymph nodes in the neck may also be removed. 

Depending on the location, stage and the type of the cancer, some people may need multiple surgeries or reconstructive and plastic surgery to restore the appearance and function to the areas affected by the surgery.

Sometimes, especially if it is not possible to completely remove the cancer through surgery - radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended in addition to, or in place of, surgery.

Learn more about surgical oncology

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​Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy​ uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Most often, radiation therapy is used to kill stray cancer cells that may remain in the body after surgery.

  • Gamma Knife™ - The Gamma Knife is not really a knife at all but a non-invasive treatment for patients with head and neck cancer that has spread to the base of the skull.
    A dose of gamma radiation is directed by highly sophisticated computer technology to the tumor site, sparing the surrounding healthy tissue.
    Gamma Knife™ surgery involves a team of medical experts ​​from neurosurgery, radiation oncology and radiation physics.
    Our physicians have access to one of the only Gamma Knife units in the state at Marshfield Medical Center in Marshfield.
    This technology enables our physicians to treat patients with tumors who would not have been able to be treated with other technologies.

  • IMRT - Intensity Modulation Radiation Therapy (IMRT). This allows the radiation oncology team to: 
    •    Customize a patient's treatment to the size, shape and location of the tumor.
    •    Minimize the amount of healthy tissue that is exposed to radiation.
    •    Treat tumors previously considered untreatable.

Learn more about radiation oncology

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Chemotherapy​ uses drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy drugs interfere with the growth of cancer cells, eventually causing the cells to die. 

Chemotherapy treatment is used to shrink the tumor, keep the tumor from spreading and kill cancer cells that have spread to other areas of the body or relieve symptoms related to cancer.

Chemotherapy is often used with radiation therapy in the treatment of head and neck cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made drugs that find and attach to specific places (proteins) on the surface of cancer cells. 

When they attach, they stop the protein from doing its job, such as making cancer cells grow. Monoclonal antibodies can be used alone or in combination with other therapies.


The formation of new blood vessels feeding tumors is called angiogenesis. Anti-angiogenesis drugs work by cutting off a tumor's blood supply so the tumor starves and is prevented from growing and/or spreading.​​

Learn more about medical oncology/hematology

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Speech Language Pathology

Most patients with head and neck cancer will experience swallowing changes. Speech Language Pathologists play an essential role in the care of these individuals.

​Learn more about speech language pathology