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Head and Neck Cancer Care

When you’re a patient at Swedish, we don’t just treat your head and neck cancer – we treat you. We use the most advanced treatments to create a highly personalized care plan. We also support you and your loved ones with a full range of services throughout your entire cancer journey. The result is effective, whole-person care for your body, mind and spirit.

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Phone: 1-855-XCANCER

Why Choose Us for Head and Neck Cancer Care?

At Swedish, we see the life in you. Together, let’s finish cancer – so you don’t have to miss any of life’s special moments.

No two patients, or their treatment plans, are alike. This is why, at Swedish, we take a highly personalized approach to your head and neck cancer care. You’ll experience this through our multidisciplinary tumor boards, where your oncology team collaborates with other cancer care experts about your specific diagnosis. We also offer a Molecular Tumor Board, where we evaluate your genomic and clinical information to find the best genetically matched treatment for you. Your oncology team will work with you directly to design a treatment plan that fits your personal needs. It’s an approach that combines leading-edge treatment with the compassionate care Swedish is known for. Why? Because we know this results in the best outcomes.

As a patient, you’ll be supported through your entire cancer journey by a multidisciplinary cancer care team. Our board-certified medical and radiation oncologists use cutting-edge techniques when diagnosing and treating your head or neck cancer. If surgery is required, you’ll be cared for by head and neck surgeons with oral and maxillofacial surgery expertise, a number of whom specialize in reconstructive head and neck surgery. It’s a team-based approach to head and neck cancer care. Your care team may also include oncology nurse navigators, speech therapists, dentists and other cancer specialists. We also provide you and your family with a full range of support services well beyond conventional treatment, from genetic counseling and education to nutrition and pain management.

Learn more about the experts who make up our multidisciplinary cancer care teams.

Cancer doesn’t discriminate, but access to great head and neck cancer care hasn’t always been the same for everyone. At Swedish, we are deeply committed to making sure every patient we treat has access to the best cancer care. We offer various location-specific services to help our patients receive equitable care, such as translation for non-English-speaking patients, telehealth and transportation assistance. We value, respect and support the racial, ethnic, religious, spiritual, gender, and sexual identities of each member of our diverse communities, and we welcome all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. We aim to make sure every patient is treated equally and with dignity – whoever you are, and wherever you’re at.

At any given time, the Swedish Cancer Institute offers patients more than 140 clinical-research studies involving most types of cancers. Clinical trials give patients access to promising new medications and procedures before they are widely available. Such trials are also the primary way that progress is made in finding better approaches to treatment and cure. Additionally, our physician specialists collaborate with other regional and national research groups, including Southwest Oncology Group, National Cancer Institute, Puget Sound Oncology Consortium and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

About Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers are cancers that form in the larynx, throat, salivary glands, sinuses or mouth. They are often caused by exposure to toxins like alcohol or tobacco, including chewing tobacco. The expert oncology teams at Swedish use the most effective therapies to treat patients with every type of head and neck cancer and its related conditions, including:

  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Nasal cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Oral cancer

Testing and Diagnostics

Patient with caregiver at clinic

Diagnostic tools help our cancer clinicians determine which therapies will work best for each patient, based on many factors like cancer type and the genetic or molecular profile of the tumor. Your doctors will use multiple advanced diagnostic and prognostic tools to help design your individualized treatment plan. Depending on your case, this may include:

  • NavDX monitoring during and after treatment Note: This advanced therapy is not available at all Swedish locations.

Personalized Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer

We take a team approach to your head and neck cancer treatment because we know this offers the best success in controlling and curing cancer. Your multidisciplinary cancer care team will work with you to design an individualized cancer care plan, from diagnosis to post-treatment support. We offer many different therapies across our Swedish locations. Depending on your condition, your personal care plan may include one or more of the following:

Systemic therapies travel through the bloodstream and affect cells in other body parts. They are used for patients whose cancer has spread to other areas of the body or if there’s a high risk of spread. Sophisticated genetic analysis allows us to target therapies to specific DNA mutations that cause cancer cells to develop and grow. Systemic therapies include:

  • Chemoradiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Clinical trials
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapies (oral and intravenous biologics)

Surgical therapies involve an operation or procedure to remove cancer from the body. Surgery may be the main treatment for some invasive cancers, but it’s only one part of the entire treatment plan. Surgical therapies include:

  • Auriculectomy
  • Composite resection of mandible
  • Endoscopic medial maxillectomy
  • Excision of skin cancer
  • Excision of submandibular gland
  • Free tissue transfer (radial forearm, fibula, scapula, anterolateral thigh)
  • Partial or total glossectomy
  • Partial or total laryngectomy
  • Local rotation flap
  • Mandibulectomy
  • Marginal resection of mandible
  • Partial or total maxillectomy
  • Modified radical neck dissection
  • Orbital exenteration
  • Parotidectomy
  • Pedicled myocutaneous flap
  • Pharyngectomy
  • Rhinectomy
  • Selective neck dissection
  • Transoral laser resection of oropharyngeal/hypopharyngeal/laryngeal tumor
  • Transoral robotic surgery

Radiation therapy uses high-energy radiation from a source like X-rays or photons to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors. It may be part of a treatment plan that also includes systemic therapies and/or surgery. Radiation is sometimes used to help ease a patient’s pain or discomfort. Radiation therapies include:

  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) and volumetric-modulated arc therapy (VMAT) Note: This advanced therapy is not available at all Swedish locations.
  • Stereotactic radiation (SABR/SBRT) Note: This advanced therapy is not available at all Swedish locations.
  • Surface-guided radiation therapy (SGRT/SIGRT) Note: This advanced therapy is not available at all Swedish locations.
  • Three-dimensional conformal radiation therapy (3DCRT)

Find Head and Neck Cancer Care Close to You


We are proud to see our dedication to our cancer patients recognized by some of the most well-respected programs and institutions in the United States. Several of our Swedish locations have achieved the following accreditations:

Meet the Team

At Swedish, you'll have access to a vast network of dedicated and compassionate providers who offer personalized care by focusing on treatment, prevention and health education.

Find Clinical Trials

Are you looking for a clinical trial for yourself or for a patient? We’d love to help you find one!

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