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Treatment options for oral, head and neck cancer

With proper evaluation and treatment by an experienced team, head and neck cancer is often curable.

These cancers include cancer of the mouth, jaw and facial bones, nose, sinuses, eye socket, salivary glands, throat, skin and lymph nodes in the neck. These cancers often begin in the moist tissues of the mouth, nose or throat.

Comprehensive treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy and possibly chemotherapy, and often involves carefully planned combinations of these modes of treatment. At Legacy, we use advanced technologies to treat oral, head and neck cancers, including surgical and radiation techniques to target tumors with precision. 

Surgery: traditional, robotic and microvascular reconstruction

At Legacy Cancer Institute, we use the latest technologies and offer traditional and minimally invasive trans-oral robot-assisted surgery to remove select cancers of the mouth and throat. Robot-assisted surgery has been successful in thousands of surgeries worldwide and when used on throat cancer, is performed through the open mouth, making it far less invasive than traditional surgery. For many people this means less pain, shorter recovery times and improved functional outcomes. 

After oral, head and neck surgery, you may also need reconstructive surgery. Legacy physicians have been on the forefront of innovative, computer-aided reconstructive techniques. 

Our surgeons are trained in both medicine and dentistry, and therefore are uniquely qualified to help you return to your normal appearance and abilities in just one operation. 

Radiation therapy: precise and advanced technology

Legacy Health has the latest technology in photon radiation therapy.  We use the newest form of intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), so the treatment time is reduced to only a few minutes. 

This treatment better protects your healthy organs from high-dose radiation while we treat your head and neck with more accurate machines and positioning than previous technology. Legacy Cancer Institute also has an experienced Gamma Knife radiosurgery team for the treatment of certain head and neck cancers located in the skull base. 

Chemotherapy: tailored treatments for each patient

As part of the OHSU Knight – Legacy Health Cancer Collaborative, medical oncologists work closely with Legacy surgeons and radiation oncologists. This multi-modality approach provides patients with the most comprehensive and effective treatment plans. We offer the latest chemotherapy advances as well as access to clinical trials both at Legacy and through the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute. Our infusion centers are conveniently located at Legacy hospital sites in NW Portland, Tualatin, Gresham and Vancouver as well as at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Beaverton. Our on-site labs and excellent infusion nurses ensure the entire process is patient-centered.