About The Head & Neck Cancer Guide


The Thyroid, Head and Neck Cancer (THANC) Foundation is committed to supporting research and education in the early detection and treatment of thyroid and head and neck cancer, to advancing new therapies, and to alleviating the suffering and functional impairment of patients who undergo treatment. Founded in 2003, the THANC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and one of the largest private funders of thyroid and head and neck cancer research in the country. Under the medical direction of Dr. Mark Urken, the THANC Foundation participates in functional outcomes research by evaluating the impact of thyroid, head and neck cancer treatment on the function of the patient following completion of therapy. In addition to research, the THANC Foundation sponsors education programs, community awareness, and patient outreach and support programs. The THANC Foundation is based in the Institute for Head and Neck and Thyroid Cancer at Mount Sinai Downtown Union Square.


THANC has awarded grants to outstanding senior and junior investigators whose clinical and behavioral work has opened exciting new research pathways, developed earlier detection methods and explored potentially more effective treatments. Many of these THANC-supported researchers have gone on to secure NIH funding.

THANC supports our in-house functional outcomes research center, which consists of a team of multidisciplinary clinicians and assistants who advance initiatives in the fields of thyroid and head and neck cancer research.

The Thyroid Care Collaborative (TCC)

Established by the THANC Foundation in 2010, the Thyroid Care Collaborative (TCC) is a unique concept in patient care. It is both a tool to record and monitor individual patient records and a rigorous and comprehensive approach to analyzing data for each patient. Professionals participating in the development and implementation of the TCC, under the leadership of Dr. Mark Urken, represent experts in the fields of otolaryngology, endocrinology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology and nuclear medicine. Their vision is to evolve thyroid cancer disease care to its highest level of excellence by providing the most comprehensive and personalized treatment to patients over a lifetime.

The Head & Neck Cancer Guide

The Head & Neck Cancer Guide is supported in part by a grant from Mount Sinai Beth Israel and was made possible by a generous donation in loving memory of Peter Lane. Peter Lane struggled with head and neck cancer, and his family wished to honor his memory by developing a website to help patients and their families through their journey.

In memory of Peter, the THANC foundation developed The Head & Neck Cancer Guide, a comprehensive resource to help patients and their loved ones understand and prepare for every step of the cancer journey. The Head & Neck Cancer Guide strives to provide information that is written by experts but easy to understand, for adults, teens and children, on diagnosis, treatments, emotional challenges, medical decision making and much more.

Anyone affected by head and neck cancer can use this guide to help cope with and better understand the cancer journey.

Developed by doctors who specialize in treating head and neck cancers and designed with the input of patients, caregivers and their loved ones, the Head & Neck Cancer Guide is the most complete resource of its kind available.

Donate to THANC Foundation

The Lane Family

The Lane family has chosen to honor the memory of their beloved father, husband, grandfather, colleague and friend Peter A. Lane through generous support provided to create the Head and Neck Cancer Guide.  Nothing would have made Peter happier than knowing that funds contributed in his honor would be used to improve the quality of life of patients struggling with head and neck and thyroid cancers.  The Head and Neck Cancer guide will honor Peter Lane by providing patients, their families and their entire circle of caregivers – including children, teens and adults – the information and support needed to get through diagnosis and treatment for head and neck and thyroid cancer.

The THANC Foundation extends our heartfelt gratitude to the entire Lane family for the generous support which has made the Head and Neck Cancer Guide possible.


Mark L. Urken, MD, FACS

Dr. Mark L Urken is the Founder and Medical Advisor of the THANC Foundation. He received his medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville and then completed two years of general surgery training on the Tufts Surgical Service in Boston and three years of surgical specialty training in Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center. Following his graduation in 1986, he began his fellowship at Mercy Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he trained in microvascular reconstructive surgery of the head and neck.

Following his training, Dr. Urken served as the Chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Mount Sinai Medical Center from 1995-2004. In 2004, he was recruited to join the Continuum Cancer Centers of New York as the Director of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology of the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery of the Beth Israel Medical Center.

In addition to publishing over 220 articles in peer-reviewed journals and over 30 chapters on a variety of topics in head and neck and thyroid surgery, Dr. Urken’s textbook and video series on head and neck reconstruction is the definitive resource on this subject. His third textbook on head and neck surgery was published in 2011.

Saral Mehra, MD, MBA

Dr. Saral Mehra received his Medical Degree from Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City, and a Masters in Business Administration from Columbia Business School. He completed a 5-year residency in Otolaryngology / Head and Neck Surgery at New York – Presbyterian Hospital (the teaching hospitals of Columbia and Cornell) and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Following residency, he was chosen to train under Dr. Mark Urken and his team at Beth Israel Medical Center in advanced head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgery.  Dr. Mehra has numerous publications in peer reviewed journals and has presented research at national and international scientific meetings on topics related to head and neck and thyroid cancer.

After formal training, he joined the Head and Neck Cancer team at Yale University as Assistant Professor of Surgery where he continues to treat patients, teach residents and medical students, and conduct research on improving the quality of care and service delivery to patients afflicted with head and neck cancer.