Head and neck cancer care at Mayo Clinic

Why choose Mayo Clinic for head and neck cancers

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Daniel Ma, M.D., Department of Radiation Oncology, Mayo Clinic: All the things that we think of give us personality and individuality in life really reside in the head and neck. There have actually been studies done looking at patients who get treated at centers who do a high volume of head and neck cases. Patients who go to physicians who do this as a dedicated specialty tend to do better.

Eric Moore, M.D., Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Mayo Clinic: We specialize in rare cancers, so that they're common for us. You come and see me, but instantly, you see a whole team of people.

Katharine Price, M.D., Department of Medical Oncology, Mayo Clinic: Our multidisciplinary group, our collaboration, I would say, sets us apart from everybody else. And not to mention the fact that we just have all of the newest tools to do this.

Dr. Moore: The surgical robot allows you to get into tight spaces with what is called minimally invasive surgery.

Dr. Ma: We have a very state of the art proton unit, able to deliver a very tight radiation field and avoid normal structures. We're probably one of the most aggressive centers in looking at dose de-escalation in terms of radiation for patients with the HPV-related oropharynx cancers.

Dr. Moore: 90% of the people with papillomavirus-induced tumor are cured by treatment. They can do very well with minimally invasive surgery and a decreased dose of targeted radio therapy and maybe targeted chemotherapy, and still have a high cure rate.

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Mayo Clinic experts offer compassionate, comprehensive care to those with head and neck cancers, including those with:

Your Mayo Clinic care team

Precise surgery leads to faster recovery.

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At Mayo Clinic, doctors in the Head and Neck Cancer Center work together to provide comprehensive care for people with these types of cancers. Your team may include ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons. Other professionals are included as needed.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

Mayo Clinic doctors have access to the latest diagnostic and treatment options. Examples include:

  • Minimally invasive operations, such as transoral robotic surgery and transoral laser microsurgery.
  • Complex reconstructive surgeries, such as free tissue transfer or free flaps, to restore function.
  • Advanced radiation therapy techniques, such as intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton therapy.
  • Advanced systemic therapy options, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted therapy.

Mayo Clinic doctors work with you to review all of your treatment options and choose the treatment that best suits your needs and goals. The range of treatments offered to people with head and neck cancers includes surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and targeted drug therapy, as well as other treatments, including experimental therapies.

At Mayo Clinic, your cancer treatment includes a personalized rehabilitation plan to help promote recovery and improve quality of life. Rehabilitation requires the expertise of a team of rehabilitation medicine specialists, such as dentists, prosthodontists, nurses, speech pathologists and physical therapists.

Mayo Clinic doctors also provide palliative care, which focuses on providing relief from pain and other symptoms caused by cancer or cancer treatment. At Mayo Clinic, palliative care specialists work with you, your family and your other doctors to provide an extra layer of support that complements your ongoing care.

The Mayo Clinic experience and patient stories

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced. See the stories of satisfied Mayo Clinic patients.

Expertise and rankings

Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive experience diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers, including very rare types. Your care team is prepared with the knowledge and resources to provide you with exactly the care you need.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Arizona, are ranked among the Best Hospitals for cancer by U.S. News & World Report.

Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center meets the strict standards for a National Cancer Institute comprehensive cancer center. These standards recognize scientific excellence and a multispecialty approach focused on cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

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Mayo Clinic in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota

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Nov. 16, 2023

Living with head and neck cancers?

Connect with others like you for support and answers to your questions in the Head & Neck Cancer support group on Mayo Clinic Connect, a patient community.

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