The goal of the Head and Neck Oncology team in 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 surrounding skin. UAB was one of the first sites nationally to offer transoral robot-assisted surgery (TORS) for use in resection of head and neck tumors. The Endocrine program within Head and Neck Oncology is also very active, managing surgical treatment of the thyroid and parathyroid glands using a minimally invasive approach. The overall volume of cases managed by UAB Head and Neck Oncology is among the largest in the United States.


The Head and Neck Oncology is also 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. Nurse 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.

Virtual Head and Neck Cancer Support Group

The UAB Head and Neck Cancer Support Group meets online on the third Thursday of every other month at 4 p.m. to discuss problems that affect head and neck cancer patients. The support group gives you a chance to hear from experts, connect with survivors, and talk through any issues you may be facing. Email Kim Mercer at to sign up.

Head and Neck Cancer Survivors Choir

The Head and Neck Cancer Survivors Choir is dedicated to using the power of music to be a voice of hope for all those whose lives have been touched by cancer. The choir is for those living with head and neck cancer, family, friends, or caregivers who enjoy singing or playing an instrument. Each session will be hosted online via Zoom. All you need is a desire to express yourself through music and a computer or smartphone with video capabilities. If you're interested in joining or have any questions, please email to sign up. 


Members of the Head and Neck Oncology team also desire to continually improve the care that patients receive. A broad range of investigative efforts is ongoing, including 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; protocols to study and 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 via national cooperative groups and investigator-initiated therapies. For example, first-in-human therapies such as TORS for head and neck cancer, new gene delivery therapies, and novel devices to detect cancer early are treatment therapies that were developed at in the Department of Otolaryngology.