Head and Neck Oncology

The goal of the Head and Neck Oncology Section of the UAB Department of Otolaryngology is to provide outstanding patient care in a compassionate, innovative and user-friendly manner.

The range of problems managed by the Head and Neck Oncology section includes benign and malignant tumors of the oral cavity, oropharynx (throat), larynx (voice box), sinuses, skull base, salivary glands and skin. UAB was one of the first sites nationally to offer robot assisted resection of head and neck tumors. The Endocrine program within Head and Neck Oncology is also very active and manages surgical disease of the thyroid and parathyroid glands by a minimally invasive approach. The overall volume of cases managed by UAB Head and Neck Oncology is among the largest in the United States.

UAB Head and Neck Oncology is part of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of the original 13 centers in the US designated by the National Cancer Institute. The broad inter-disciplinary team includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, dentists and prosthodontists, speech pathologists, nurses, and nutritionists. Navigation through the maze of appointments and specialists is facilitated by full-time patient care coordinators. Cancer care may involve multiple types of treatment delivered by multiple specialists at UAB and regionally. Nursing coordinators assist patients at each step by providing education, resources, schedules, and contact information for questions or concerns that may arise during or after treatment.

Members of the UAB Head and Neck Oncology program also desire to continually improve the care that patients receive. A broad range of investigative efforts is ongoing. These efforts include: laboratory-based research developing new cancer treatments and identifying improved methods of tumor detection; clinical trials designed to improve cure rates and minimize side effects; studies to improve quality of life following cancer treatment; and public health projects designed to eliminate cancer disparities in underserved groups.

In cooperation with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Department of Otolaryngology has many clinical trials evaluating novel therapies in head and neck and cancer and related disorders. The trials include first in human therapies or therapies that have been well established in other cancers and are now being evaluated for use in the diseases of the head and neck. The clinical trials available change every few months and represent cutting edge cancer treatments through national cooperative groups and through investigator initiated therapies. For example, first in human therapies such as robotic surgery for head and neck cancer, new gene delivery therapies, and novel devices to detect cancer early are treatment therapies developed at UAB in the Department of Otolaryngology.

Referrals and questions about the UAB Head and Neck Oncology program should be directed to our Patient Care Coordinator at 205-801-8461.