Types of Cancer We Treat
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Cancers within the head and neck region require special training and expert care to achieve successful outcomes. Our fellowship-trained Riverside team provides cancer care excellence for any head and neck cancer. At Riverside, we follow evidence-based cancer guidelines by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and offer advanced treatments through our research partnerships with academic medical center VCU Health. Our approach to your care is team-based and collaborative, with your goals and preferences our top priority.

Head and neck cancer specialists at Riverside provide the diagnostic evaluations and advanced care you need for a range of cancers affecting areas of the head and neck, including:

  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Lip cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Sinus cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Thyroid cancer
  • Tongue cancer

Collaborative team approach for your cancer care

Cancer care at Riverside means you have an entire team supporting you every step of the way. From advanced diagnostic imaging to innovative treatments and on to recovery and survivorship, our priority is you. Riverside was one of the first healthcare organizations in the country to add patient navigators to every cancer team, and they will help guide you through our system of care. Because we work together as a team for care decisions, you can count on the collaboration of many as part of your team - to get you well, including:

  • Medical oncologist
  • Surgical oncologist
  • Reconstructive surgeon
  • Radiation oncologist
  • Interventional radiologist
  • Otolaryngologist
  • Endocrinologist
  • Pathologist
  • Medical physicist
  • Dosimetrist
  • Medical oncology nurse
  • Radiation oncology nurse
  • Radiation therapist
  • Patient navigator
  • Social worker
  • Speech and swallowing specialist
  • Dietitian
  • IT oncology specialist

Research study tracking head and neck cancer

In a recent research study on patient quality of life, Riverside’s head and neck cancer team investigated weight loss during cancer treatments. Weight loss is common before, during and after head and neck cancer treatment because many of these cancers can make it difficult to eat and painful to swallow.

Your cancer care team is proactive about anticipating cancer treatment side effects and helping you to keep as strong a quality of life as possible. By recognizing concerns such as weight loss that affect your health, your team can provide nutritional treatments to keep you strong to fight your cancer. Your patient navigator will help connect you with our specially trained dietitians at Riverside for personalized solutions.

Dietitians an integral part of the head and neck cancer care team

A referral to Riverside’s nationally-credentialed registered dietitians is an automatic part of your cancer treatment. Their support is included at no cost to patients because nutritional expertise is an integrated part of cancer care at Riverside. Our dietary team is especially mindful of nutrition consultation for head and neck cancer patients because weight loss is a common side effect. Weight loss predictors include an advanced cancer stage, concurrent chemotherapy and an initial higher body mass index (BMI). Especially for patients meeting these criteria, our team brings in dietary support earlier to catch any weight loss issues as soon as possible and support patients through nutritional guidance to best manage side effects from treatment.

How to reduce your risk of head and neck cancers

The risk of head and neck cancers is significantly increased by tobacco and alcohol use – and occur two to three times more often in men. Also, the human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, especially those of the base of the tongue or tonsils. Another key risk factor is excessive sun exposure, especially in the lip area.

It is essential to limit these risk factors and monitor any changes in head or neck, including:

  • Changes in your voice or hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lump in the neck
  • Mouth or lip sores that don’t heal
  • Persistent sore throat

To reduce your chance of these cancers, Riverside can help with cancer screenings. Our team of otolaryngologists can check any concerns you or a loved one may have about these symptoms. Screenings and early diagnosis can more than double your chances of success.