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Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, jaw and facial bones, nose, sinuses, eye socket, salivary glands, throat, skin and lymph nodes in the neck. This type of cancer often begins in the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or throat. With proper evaluation and treatment by an experienced team, head and neck cancer is often curable.

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer a comprehensive, specialized and multidisciplinary approach to cancer treatment and rehabilitation. Your Legacy care team may include head and neck surgeons and specialists, neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, maxillofacial prosthodontists, general dentists, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists, plus experts/specialists in recovery and rehabilitation.

Award-winning care

Legacy ranks among the nation's top cancer programs and has received multiple quality awards including the Outstanding Achievement Award from the American College of Surgeons' Commission (ACS) on Cancer. The ACS ranks Legacy's cancer program as one of the best in the nation. Learn more about our awards and recognition for quality and patient outcomes.

Treatment options

Treatment for these cancers usually requires surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy and often involves carefully planned combinations of these treatments. At Legacy we use advanced technologies to treat head and neck cancers, including surgical and radiation techniques that precisely target tumors.

Surgery, including minimally invasive robotic surgery to remove cancers from the mouth and throat.

Legacy was a leader in developing a robotics surgical system for head and neck cancer. This approach has been successful in thousands of surgeries worldwide. Robotic surgery of the mouth and throat is performed through the open mouth, making it far less invasive than traditional surgery. For most patients this means less pain and shorter recovery times.

Patients requiring non-robotic head and neck surgery may also require microvascular reconstruction. Legacy physicians were the first in Oregon to provide state-of-the-art microvascular free tissue transfer for head and neck reconstruction.  Using a multidisciplinary approach, combined with the most contemporary technological advances, our surgeons can provide an immediate return to function, with optimal esthetics, in a single operation.

Radiation therapy, using the most precise and advanced technology available


Physician case review

Our multidisciplinary cancer care conferences review complex cases to provide an expert "second opinion" on diagnosis, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, treatment strategy and rehabilitation. The team includes medical oncologists, pathologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, surgeons, nurses, research coordinators and other cancer care staff.

You're not alone

At the Legacy Cancer Institute we offer services to support every aspect of your treatment, including your physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. We offer a range of support services to help you and your family. If you need help just ask us, and we'll help you find the support you need.

Nurse navigators

Our personalized support services begin with our nurse navigators. They will help you throughout your treatment, from knowing what to expect to finding the right support services and helping you manage symptoms and treatment side effects.

Support services

In addition, the following support services are also available:

Our providers

Allen Cheng, M.D., DDS, board-certified and fellowship-trained oral/head and neck surgeon, microvascular reconstructive surgeon, and medical director of the Legacy Oral, Head and Neck Cancer program; practices at Head & Neck Surgical Associates

Eric Dierks, M.D., DMD, FACS, board-certified oral/head and neck surgeon and one of the first surgeons on the West Coast to use the surgical robot to remove cancer from the mouth and throat; practices at Head & Neck Surgical Associates

Ted Huang, M.D., medical oncologist; OHSU Knight–Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative

Andrew Kee, M.D., radiation oncologist; Legacy Medical Group–Radiation Oncology

Misa Lee, M.D., radiation oncologist; Legacy Medical Group–Radiation Oncology

Ashish Patel, M.D., DDS, board-certified and fellowship trained oral/head and neck surgeon, and microvascular reconstructive surgeon; practices at Head & Neck Surgical Associates

Jaqueline Vuky, M.D., medical oncologist; OHSU Knight–Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative