Head & Neck Cancer Program

Lipson Cancer Institute’s Head & Neck Cancer Program carefully balances effective treatment with quality of life. Our collaborative approach to care personalizes treatment for tumors affecting the neck, larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), oral cavity (mouth), ear, sinuses, tonsils, and salivary glands, as well as cervical (neck) lymph nodes and skin of the head and neck. 

Call to Schedule a Consultation at (585) 256-3550

Head & Neck Cancers We Treat 

Our head and neck cancer specialists are dedicated to providing comprehensive evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment using an integrated approach to care. Common head and neck cancers we treat include:

Mouth (Oral Cavity)

  • Oral cavity cancers— develop in the mouth specifically the tongue, gums, and the inside of the cheeks. Possible risk factors for oral cancer include alcohol consumption, smoking and tobacco use, poor oral hygiene, as well as health conditions that affect the immune system.


  • Oropharyngeal cancer — one of the fastest-rising cancers, this cancer forms in the back of the mouth/middle of the throat, including the back of the tongue, throat lining, tonsils, and parts of the back of the roof of the mouth (soft palate). Risk factors for oropharynx cancer include sexually mediated exposure to Human Papillomavirus (HPV) as well as tobacco or marijuana use, heavy alcohol consumption, poor diet, nutrition, and oral hygiene.
  • Laryngeal cancer— defined as cancer of the larynx, or voice box, this cancer occurs in the part of the throat between the back of the tongue and the windpipe. Laryngeal cancer is the second most common type of head and neck cancer. The two main risk factors for developing this type of cancer are heavy alcohol consumption and smoking/tobacco use.
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer— develops in the hypopharynx, a part of the throat behind the larynx (voice box) that connects your mouth to your esophagus. Smoking, excessive drinking, and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are possible causes of cancers in the hypopharynx.

Nose and Sinus

  • Nasopharyngeal cancer — also known as nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC), this rare cancer occurs in the upper part of the throat, at the back of the nose/nasal cavity. NPC is more common in other parts of the world, specifically in Asia and the Middle East, and has been linked to Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) and a hereditary predisposition.
  • Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer — found in the tissues that surround the hollow spaces of your nose (the paranasal sinuses), or in your nasal cavity, this cancer type is commonly called Squamous Cell Carcinoma. People who have been exposed to toxins, or metals like nickel and chromium have an increased risk of developing paranasal sinus cancer. Similarly, tobacco use increases your risk.

Learn more about our Sinus & Nasal program

Salivary Glands

  • Salivary gland cancer— rare cancer that forms in the salivary glands (which include the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual glands), the glands in front of and below the ears, under the tongue, and below the jaw. There are two of each of these glands, but cancer often affects only one.

Thyroid Gland

  • Thyroid cancer— this cancer develops in the thyroid, a small gland located below the voice box in the front of the neck, responsible for making hormones that affect your metabolism. In most cases, thyroid cancer is a highly curable form of cancer.

Skin Cancer

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and frequently affects the head and neck. We work closely with our dermatology colleagues to stay one step ahead of skin cancers which potentially can spread to lymph nodes in the face and neck regions.

  • Basal cell carcinoma: The most frequent type which can be locally invasive but thankfully does not commonly spread to lymph nodes.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma: This type can be locally invasive and may spread to lymph nodes around the affected area, sometimes several years later. These recurrences in the lymph nodes can be aggressive and require expedited surgical evaluation for possible parotidectomy and neck dissection.
  • Melanoma: The third most common type but most aggressive which typically present with the ABCDEs (Asymmetry, irregular Borders, dark Color, large Diameter, Evolving moles and spots). These are typically treated with surgical excision and sentinel lymph node dissection.

The expert providers at Lipson Cancer Institute’s Head & Neck Cancer Program know that a quick and accurate diagnosis is key to providing the best possible treatment and care.

Head & Neck Cancer Treatments

At Lipson Cancer Institute, our goal is not only to treat cancer but to help you maintain your quality of life. Your treatment plan depends on many factors, including the location of cancer, the stage of cancer, as well as your age, and general health.

Our experienced, multidisciplinary team of health care professionals, which includes head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, physical therapists, rehabilitation specialists, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists, advanced practice providers, and social workers, will work with you to determine which type(s) of treatment will work best for you and your lifestyle.

Head and neck cancer treatments may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Immunotherapy

Learn more about cancer treatments

Our collaborative approach to care personalizes treatment options. Treatment is complemented by multiple services that help support quality of life. These include speech and swallowing therapists to help patients regain lost function, dental experts to help preserve dental health and function, and nutritional therapists to ensure patients with swallowing challenges maintain a healthy weight.

Rochester Regional Health also offers a Smoking Cessation Program facilitated by Pulmonary Physicians and Respiratory Therapists to help patients quick smoking for good.

Learn more about our smoking cessation program

Our Head & Neck Surgeons

Meet the expert providers at Rochester Regional Health who specialize in Head & Neck Cancer.

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Your First Choice for Head and Neck Care

From routine ENT problems to highly complex ones, the Head + Neck Center has more than two decades of highly successful results. With board-certified and fellowship-trained physicians focused on your health and comfort, we provide the most comprehensive care in Western New York.

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Whether you have a condition that needs further testing or a cancer diagnosis, you will receive a patient-centered diagnosis, therapy, and rehabilitation services from a highly-skilled, interdisciplinary team of specialists. We also help you and your family confront the challenges of difficult treatment decisions by offering a range of support services and resources.

Call to Schedule Your Head & Neck Cancer Consultation

Enhancing Your Day-to-Day Quality of Life

Debilitating pain, life-altering side effects, and the anxieties and fears of dealing with a short-term or chronic illness can slow you and your loved ones down. The Palliative Care Program is here to help. With a holistic approach to treatment, we provide the best quality of life for every patient.
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