Diagnosis and Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer | Loyola Medicine

Head and Neck Cancer

Expert Care and Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is one of the many cancer types for which Loyola Medicine has gained recognition for its expert diagnostic and cancer treatment capabilities. Loyola’s team of doctors has extensive experience in managing all aspects of head and neck cancer and is deeply committed to compassionate patient care.

Loyola is proud to offer you a one visit, one location approach for comprehensive head and neck cancer care. If you have head and neck cancer, Loyola provides you access to an experienced team of surgical oncologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, pathologists and nurses in one day. Our multidisciplinary program means you receive a comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis and treatment plan designed specifically for you.

Cancer of the head and neck usually begins in the cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the mouth, nose and throat, and is generally characterized by the part of head or neck in which it originates:

  • Larynx
  • Nasal cavity
  • Oral cavity
  • Paranasal sinuses
  • Pharynx
  • Salivary glands

Why Choose Loyola for the Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer?

Loyola is a world-class academic medical center, and our clinical activities are enhanced with our vigorous approach to research. Our clinicians and laboratory investigators collaborate to better understand the growth and development of head and neck cancer, so we can ensure the most positive outcomes for our patients.
Loyola is recognized by the Becker’s Hospital Review as being on the cutting edge of cancer treatment, prevention and research, stating: “Loyola's head and neck cancer program is one of five of its kind in the country.”

How is Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosed?

Doctors at Loyola approach the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer with great compassion and care. At Loyola, a multidisciplinary team of experts works together to provide the most comprehensive treatment, resulting in the best outcomes for patients. 
Diagnosis is most often made after a patient has completed a medical history, physical exam and a series of potential imaging tests that may include:

Ultimately a biopsy, the examination of a tissue sample under a microscope, is necessary to definitively diagnose the presence of head and neck cancer.

How is Head and Neck Cancer Treated?

Treatment for head and neck cancer is tailored to each individual person, and for the specific type of cancer with which a patient has been diagnosed. The plan is also dependent on the exact location of the tumor, the stage of cancer and the patient’s health history. At Loyola, treatment decisions for any type of head and neck cancer are made by a multidisciplinary team that may include:

  • Audiologists
  • Dentists
  • Dietitians
  • Maxillofacial prosthodontists
  • Medical oncologists
  • Nurses
  • Otolaryngologists
  • Physical therapists
  • Plastic surgeons
  • Psychiatrists/Psychologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Social workers
  • Speech therapists
  • Surgeons​

Doctors at Loyola have the expertise and skills to treat the following head and neck cancers:

  • Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oral cavity cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Thymus cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Treatment for head and neck cancer can include a combination of the following treatments:

Loyola is recognized for its wide array of treatment options for head and neck cancer. Most notably, Loyola was the first Illinois hospital to use the robotic system for oral, head and neck tumors. Loyola is a leader in using minimally invasive surgical techniques to treat head and neck cancer. Our surgeons have been successful in removing even advanced tumors with endoscopic surgery, which enables a faster recovery, fewer complications and less scarring.

Leader in Minimally Invasive Surgical Techniques for Oral, Head and Neck Tumors

Loyola is also recognized for its head and neck oncology clinic, which provides patients with a consultation and evaluation for head and neck cancer in a single visit, at a single location. The clinic treats approximately 300 new patients and sees more than 3,000 patients each year. Our services include state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, a second-opinion service and support services. In addition, the specialists who staff the clinic are actively engaged in cancer research, offering patients the opportunity to participate in clinical trials for head and neck cancer.
Loyola also offers patients the skill and expertise of the head and neck surgery division. This division has extensive experience performing surgery on the head and neck to remove cancer or other lesions that can affect a patient’s appearance and function, such as facial movement. In these cases, reconstructive surgery is an important part of the treatment plan to regain a natural appearance and improve quality of life. Otolaryngologists perform reconstructive surgery and also collaborate with other surgical specialties to provide the best results possible for each patient.
Loyola also offers an oral, head and neck cancer networking group. This group is open to all those interested in learning to deal with the effects of oral, head and neck cancers. The group is dedicated to providing support, information and practical help to cancer patients and their families.