Head and Neck Cancer Treatments

Head and Neck Cancer Treatments

When you come to Siteman for the treatment of head and neck cancer, our Washington University physicians and surgeons will design a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. We will work to remove the tumor and prevent relapse while helping you maintain your quality of life.

Most patients with head and neck cancer undergo surgery to remove the tumor. In some cases, patients also receive radiation therapy or medication therapies to kill any cancer cells that may remain in the body.

One of the biggest advantages to receiving care at Siteman is easy access to leading-edge clinical trials. Clinical trials allow you to be treated with the newest drugs before they are licensed for general use. Your care team will be sure to recommend a clinical trial if they believe you could benefit.


Surgery is often the first line of treatment for head and neck cancer. At Siteman, our Washington University surgeons have the skill and experience to remove your tumor and repair the tumor site through advanced reconstructive techniques during a single surgery. Our team also has experts in minimally-invasive approaches, including transoral robotic surgery for HPV tumors of the oropharynx and scarless thyroid surgery, which speed up recovery after surgery and minimize damage and surgical side effects.

Medical therapy

Medical therapy is the use of medications that are delivered through the veins – such as chemotherapy or immunotherapy – to kill cancer cells at the tumor site and throughout the body. Patients usually receive medical therapy if surgery alone cannot treat their tumor.

Learn more about specific medical therapy interventions. 


Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy, or the use of radiation beams to damage cancer cells and stop them from growing, can be used alongside surgery to treat later-stage head and neck cancers. Sometimes, it can even cure head and neck cancer as a treatment without any surgery.

Learn more about cutting-edge radiation therapies.