Fighting Cancer

There are three general options for treating head and neck cancer: surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. Surgery involves physically removing the cancer in an operating room, and it is the first line of treatment for most cases of head and neck cancer. Radiation therapy kills cancer cells with high-energy particles or waves such as X-rays or gamma rays. Chemotherapy, or “chemo,” uses special medicines to kill cancer cells.

Patients may need just one of these types of treatment or a combination of two or three, depending on the cancer type, its location and if it has spread to other parts of the body. Some people may benefit from participating in clinical trials as well. Clinical trials use volunteers to try new treatment ideas. There is no guarantee the treatment in a clinical trial will help, but it does give access to new drugs, procedures and methods not yet available to everyone.

You know you’re getting better every day after the surgery. You can feel it; you can see it.Barry W. (palatomaxillary and low grade adenocarcinoma of minor salivary gland cancer survivor)

Navigating cancer treatments

This website has several articles about specific types of treatments the person with cancer may undergo. These articles fall into the following categories:


Learn about the different types of head and neck cancer removal surgery, reconstructive surgeries and other cancer surgeries.

Radiation Therapy

This section describes radiation therapy and the possible side effects the patient may experience.


This section describes chemotherapy, how it is administered and the possible side effects the patient may experience.

Clinical Trials

This article explains what clinical trials are, who should consider participating in one and how to find one.

Questions and Answers

This page includes several questions teens commonly ask about head and neck cancer treatment and the answers.