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Head & Neck Surgery Cancer Program

The UCSF Head and Neck Surgery Cancer Program provides comprehensive, world-class care for people with head and neck tumors. These tumors can affect key functions such as breathing, speech, sight and swallowing, as well as appearance. We are committed to providing the most advanced and personalized care to protect both our patients' health and their quality of life. We're equally committed to providing an accessible, caring and informative environment that supports patients before, during and after treatment.

Our team includes head and neck surgeons, otolaryngologists, facial plastic and reconstructive surgeons and speech language pathologists. When needed, we partner with radiation and medical oncologists, dental oncologists, nutritionists and many other types of specialists at UCSF to give our patients the best possible outcomes.

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We harness cutting-edge, minimally invasive techniques that can make surgery safer and recovery easier. Examples include in-office ultrasound for surveillance and for planning surgical procedures; minimally invasive TORS (transoral robotic surgery) and other endoscopic laser tools for removing tumors from hard-to-reach areas of the throat; and minimally invasive skull base surgery, which uses endoscopes inserted through small incisions or through the nose. For people who are not good candidates for a minimally invasive approach, we also offer traditional open surgery.

Speech and swallowing rehabilitation

Difficulties with speech or swallowing are common challenges for our patients. After treatment, we perform comprehensive assessments, using technology such as fiberoptic endoscopic evaluation of swallowing (FEES) tests and modified barium swallow studies. Our speech and swallowing specialists follow up with personalized rehabilitation programs.

Dental oncology

The UCSF Dental Oncology Program provides comprehensive oral health care tailored to the unique needs of people with head and neck cancers. This service is available only to patients of the Head and Neck Surgery Cancer Program.

Our services include:

  • Evaluations and consultations
  • Preventive care
  • Urgent care
  • Dental surgery, including replacement of missing teeth
  • Treatment for trismus, also called lockjaw

Current patients can reach the Dental Oncology Program at (415) 476-9800.

Our locations (2)

    Decorative Caduceus

    Evaluating a Low-Cost Therapeutic Device in Managing Head and Neck Cancer Patients With Radiati...

    The mean change in MIO from baseline to end of treatment at 6 weeks will be reported


    U.S. News rankings

    • usnews-neurology

      Among the top hospitals in the nation

    • Best in Northern California and No. 7 in the nation for cancer care

    • n7-2x

      One of the nation's best for ear, nose & throat care

    Accreditations & memberships

    • National Cancer Institute

      The National Cancer Institute has designated UCSF a comprehensive cancer center, its highest ranking. This designation is awarded to centers that demonstrate scientific excellence and the ability to conduct cancer research across many disciplines.

    • Commission on Cancer

      UCSF's cancer programs have been accredited by the American College of Surgeons' Commission on Cancer (CoC) since 1933. The CoC is a consortium of groups dedicated to improving cancer patients' survival and quality of life via research, education and better medical care.

    • National Comprehensive Cancer Network

      UCSF is a founding member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the world’s top cancer centers. The network brings together leaders in treatment and research to improve the quality, effectiveness and efficiency of cancer care.

    Support services

    Support Group

    Art for Recovery

    Creativity can help people with serious illnesses cope, heal and express what they're going through. Find out about our program and how to join.


    Cancer Exercise Counseling

    Our one-on-one exercise training sessions, customized for your needs and abilities, can complement other cancer treatments and speed your recovery.

    Patient Resource

    Cancer Nutrition Counseling

    UCSF Health offers free nutrition counseling to our patients with cancer, as well as nutrition seminars that are open to anyone. Learn more.


    Core & More Class for Cancer Patients

    A strong body helps you fight cancer and enjoy life. Join this class to stabilize your core, strengthen your muscles and improve overall fitness. For cancer patients and caregivers!

    Patient Resource

    Friend to Friend Specialty Shops

    A one-stop boutique for patients with cancer. Get professional help with wigs, prostheses, sun-protective clothing, makeup, skin care and more.


    Meditation & Guided Imagery for Cancer Patients

    Drop in for a free class designed to help you heal, relax and find balance during your treatment. UCSF and non-UCSF patients are welcome.

    Patient Resource

    Oncology Social Work

    Social workers offer support, problem-solving, help accessing UCSF cancer-related resources and more. Find out how to contact the social worker for your clinic.

    Patient Resource

    Patient & Family Cancer Support Center

    The center offers wellness programming, community, support groups, classes, workshops and more at no cost to people facing cancer and their loved ones.

    Support Group

    Peer Support Programs for Cancer

    Patients are matched with peer support volunteers according to criteria such as diagnosis, cancer stage, age or gender. Speak to someone who's "been there."

    Preparing for your appointment

    What to Bring

    • Photo I.D.
    • Health insurance card
    • Insurance authorization, if required
    • Doctor's referral, if required
    • Recent test results related to your condition
    • List of your medications, including dosages, plus any you're allergic to
    • List of questions you may have
    • Device or paper for taking notes

    International Services

    If you live outside the United States and are coming to UCSF for medical treatment, our patient liaisons can help coordinate all aspects of your visit.

    Learn more

    Interpreting Services

    UCSF offers interpreters in various languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), as well as services for deaf, hard-of-hearing and visually impaired patients.

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    Hospital Stays

    Make your hospital stay as smooth and comfortable as possible by finding out how to prepare and what to expect.

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    Your Doctor Visit

    See our top 10 tips for making your UCSF doctor’s appointment as stress-free and productive as possible.

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    Our research initiatives

    • UCSF-Helen-Diller-Family-Comprehensive-Cancer-Center-Research-2x

      UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center Research

      UCSF is home to a range of research initiatives aimed at improving outcomes for cancer patients everywhere. This includes research on topics such as immunotherapy, BRCA mutations and molecular diagnostic testing.

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