COVID-19 - APPOINTMENTS AND PROCEDURES

Your health and safety is still our top priority. Appointments are available as video visits, phone calls or in-person visits as needed, with the same safe, world-class care you expect.

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We know how worrying head and neck tumors can be, especially when they threaten your breathing, speech, swallowing, senses or appearance. We’re here to guide your treatment and recovery so you can look, feel and function better. 

Our team includes various specialists who offer the full range of treatments, including chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and rehabilitation. You’ll also have the full support of a dedicated cancer coordinator to guide you and your family through this stressful period.

Why Choose Us for Head and Neck Cancer Care

  • Unparalleled experience: Your care comes from experts who treat more than 1,000 head and neck tumors a year. That’s more than any other team in the region.
  • Helping keep you whole: Head and neck cancers can have devastating effects on your life and body. Your treatment is carefully tailored to best preserve your appearance, speech, senses and ability to swallow.
  • Every specialist you need: Head and neck cancers require specialized care from an entire team working in unison. You’re fully supported by our close-knit team of specialists, including head and neck surgeons, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, speech pathologists and many more.
  • The best procedures for the best outcomes: Our team has the expertise to perform a full range of procedures, including minimally invasive and robotic surgeries. No matter how complex your condition, we can help you achieve your best results in health and quality of life.

Cancers and Conditions We Treat

We treat all types of tumors and cancers (including squamous cell carcinoma, adenocarcinoma, melanoma) in the following head and neck areas:

  • Face
  • Ears
  • Lips
  • Mouth
  • Sinus
  • Tongue
  • Salivary glands
  • Throat
  • Thyroid
  • Base of the skull

Treatment for Head and Neck Cancers

Starting treatment can be tough, but you’re not alone. Your dedicated cancer coordinator is by your side to help you navigate your condition and any treatment option you may need. Head and neck cancer treatments can include chemotherapy, radiation therapy and a variety of surgeries. We’ll help you choose the best treatment path for you.

Your treatment and recovery is fully supported by a number of highly-skilled experts, including: 

  • Our team of head and neck surgeons, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons, microvascular reconstruction surgeons, skull base surgeons, laryngologists, speech language pathologists and neuro-otologists.
  • Any other specialists you need, like radiation and medical oncologists, neurosurgeons, thoracic surgeons, nutritionists and many more.

Your Patient Journey

Diagnosis and First Visit

We know how difficult the first visit can be as you face overwhelming information about your diagnosis and treatment options. We’ll be there to answer any questions and address any concerns you may have. As we move forward through this journey together, your opinion continues to be valued at each step of the decision-making process. It’s our hope you feel like part of the treatment team from day one.

During your visit, you’ll meet with a team of nurses and doctors for a health evaluation and complete physical exam. We’ll review your medical history, medications, lab work, prior imaging studies and prior procedures. If you do not yet have a diagnosis, we may order certain tests based on your condition, like imaging, tissue or blood tests.

Once we’ve reviewed your results, we’ll help you understand our findings and explain what next steps are available to you. 

Non-Surgical Treatments

A variety of treatment options are available depending on your condition, including: 

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Your treatment is tailored to your unique health concerns, including the impact on your quality of life. When possible, we’ll recommend conservative treatment options that are less disruptive to your overall well-being. In certain cases where your condition means surgery isn’t an option, a combination of chemotherapy and radiation can be an effective alternative.

Your treatment plan is also evaluated weekly by a group of experts, including surgeons, oncologists and speech pathologists. This evaluation is critical to ensuring your care is on track, as your health needs may change over the course of treatment.

Surgery

Surgery may be required to remove a tumor or reconstruct an area damaged by a tumor. Our surgeons receive extensive training in order to master a number of delicate head and neck surgeries. If you need surgery, we’ll help you understand how each procedure works, risks involved and what to expect after. A number of minimally invasive surgeries are available, which offer faster recovery and better outcomes in certain situations.

We perform the following surgeries:

  • Transoral robotic surgery (TORS), where your surgeon removes a tumor in the mouth with the help of computer-guided tools. TORS offers some patients shorter recovery times and often reduces or eliminates the need for radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Microvascular reconstruction of the head and neck, used to repair areas of the tongue, jaw, palate and face often damaged by complex advanced tumors. Tissue from the lower leg, thigh or forearm may be used to complete the reconstruction.
  • Endoscopic laser microsurgery of the larynx, an alternative to total or partial laryngectomy (larynx removal) for certain patients. This procedure offers faster recovery times and less impact on voice and swallowing.
  • Minimally invasive oral cavity surgery, which uses fewer, smaller incisions than other oral surgeries. This surgery avoids reconstruction and gives you faster recovery with less dysfunction of speech and swallowing.
  • Minimally invasive parotidectomy (saliva gland removal), an alternative to traditional parotidectomy with smaller and fewer incisions. You may heal faster and have better outcomes in preserving function and physical appearance.
  • Advanced airway surgery, to treat and conserve sections of the airway affected by conditions like tumors. 
  • Sialoendoscopy, used to diagnose and treat conditions in the saliva glands. Our team was one of the first to perform this procedure in the U.S.
  • Advanced skin cancer surgery, required when advanced skin cancers spread to nearby structures like the ear or nose. Multiple specialists and procedures are required to provide you the best outcomes in preserving function and physical appearance.
  • Endoscopic skull base surgery, where a tiny camera is inserted through the nose to help remove tumors from the base of the skull. Our team performs this procedure more than any other in the region.

Supportive Care

Difficulties with speech or swallowing are common challenges for head and neck cancer patients. After treatment, specialists at the Loma Linda University Voice and Swallowing Center are by your side to help address these challenges. Your recovery is guided by a personalized rehabilitation program to give you the best results.

Your dedicated cancer coordinator will continue to help you get the support you need after treatment, including:

  • Speech language pathologists, who can help you with speech or swallowing disorders
  • Nutritionists, who help you adjust your dietary needs through treatment and recovery
  • Patient education, to help you improve your health by providing new information, perspectives and skills 
  • Psychosocial care, which includes appropriate mental health and social support
  • Pastoral care, to support you spiritually

Take the Next Step

We know how harmful head and neck cancers can be not only to your physical health, but your mental and social health as well. We’re here to get you through this challenging time — don’t wait another day to reach out. To request a consultation, please call 800-782-2623 or complete our online form.