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Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

Head and neck cancers make up approximately six percent of all cancers in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, as many as 39,000 men and women across the country develop head and neck cancer each year.

These numbers mean little to anyone who hears they have a head and neck cancer. That kind of unsettling news is always personal. And our University of Colorado Health specialists take a personal interest in developing a treatment plan for you.

Specialists in head & neck cancer

UCHealth facilities in Fort Collins, metro Denver, and Colorado Springs specialize in treating cancers that begin in the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity, pharynx, or larynx.

You can also find treatment at UCHealth for cancers that appear in lymph nodes of the upper neck, and we collaborate with our colleagues on the Head and Neck Tumor Board to review specific situations and develop the best next steps for people dealing with advanced thyroid cancer when standard treatments aren’t delivering desired results.

Unique multidisciplinary thyroid cancer clinic

In metro Denver you also have access to the Rocky Mountain region’s only multidisciplinary thyroid cancer clinic.

As someone experiencing an advanced or rare thyroid cancer, you’re evaluated jointly by our medical oncologists, endocrinologists, thyroid cancer surgeons, and radiation oncologists who work together to create a specialized care plan that fits your specific needs. In addition, you may be able to participate in clinical research studies of new chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Advanced treatment technology

When you choose UCHealth, you gain access to the most comprehensive and advanced radiation therapies in the Rocky Mountain region. Options may include IMRT—intensity modulated radiation therapy—an individualized, 3-D computer-based treatment that delivers high doses of radiation to precisely targeted tumors while sparing surrounding tissue. We also offer stereotactic radiation, which uses a highly focused beam directed toward a small, localized tumor, and if needed, we conduct re-irradiation procedures.

Team-based treatment at UCHealth

At UCHealth, a caring team of doctors and support professionals from many fields—including our elite, Magnet-designated nursing staff—work together to develop the best plan of care for you, and they stay with you from your initial appointment through treatment and aftercare.

You receive doctor-managed care that emphasizes wellness and healing for you as a whole person—our complementary and integrative medicine specialists incorporate options such as massage therapy, acupuncture, and exercise consultation into your treatment. Your expert medical team members may include:

  • Medical oncologists
  • Radiation oncologists
  • Head and neck cancer surgeons
  • Pathologists
  • Radiologists
  • Oncology nurses
  • Nutritionists
  • Social workers
  • Speech-language pathologists

Clinical trials

Your medical team may also recommend participation in a clinical trial. University of Colorado Health conducts hundreds of these “trials” of new treatments or drugs through our University of Colorado Cancer Center. Participation in a clinical trial may provide those who qualify with access to drugs and vaccines years before they are widely available.

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