Head and Neck Cancer

Dr. Reid Mueller visiting with a patient.

Dr. Reid Mueller is an expert plastic and reconstructive surgeon with particular skills in facial surgery. He is a pioneer in minimally invasive methods.

At the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, we offer you the region’s most advanced care for head and neck cancer. Our services include:

  • A team-based approach, with experts working together to tailor a treatment plan to your needs.
  • The region's most experienced doctors.
  • Innovative techniques such microsurgery, robotic surgery and sophisticated radiation therapy.
  • The latest medications, including immunotherapy for advanced and difficult-to-treat cancers.
  • Access to clinical trials that explore leading-edge advances in cancer medicine.
  • Expert rehabilitation care and therapy for voice and swallowing issues.
  • A full slate of support services including cancer dietitians and social workers.

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Excellence in cancer care

As one of the nation’s top cancer centers, the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute treats more head and neck cancers than any other medical center in the region. Our providers are experts in the complex systems of the head and neck.

Experience: Our surgeons perform hundreds of head and neck cancer procedures a year. They’re also fellowship-trained — meaning they had at least a year of advanced training — at centers such as Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.

Expertise: Our neurosurgeons pioneered a surgical technique that avoids the delicate structures of the head and neck. Our team also includes surgeons who are experts in microvascular surgery. This offers the most options for reconstructive procedures.

Top honors: The Knight Cancer Institute is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the best cancer centers in the nation. We’re also the only center between Seattle and Sacramento named a Comprehensive Cancer Center, the National Cancer Institute’s highest designation for research excellence.

Coordinated care

Team of experts: Your team may include a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, reconstructive surgeon, oral surgeon, nurses, speech therapists, dietitians and others. They will work together to give you the best care possible.

Weekly meetings: Our providers hold a meeting called a tumor board each week to go over scans, test results and treatment plans together, one patient at a time. This ensures that you benefit from the full team’s expertise.

Convenience: If you live outside the Portland area, we can combine some appointments to lower the number of visits you need to make. Our cancer social workers can help with transportation, lodging and other issues.

Fast appointments and test results: Our goal is to see new patients within a week of referral. If surgery is needed, we try to schedule it within two weeks. We also try to give you results from many diagnostic tests while you’re at the clinic or later the same day.

The latest techniques

You'll find the most innovative approaches to head and neck cancer treatment, including:

  • State-of the-art imaging systems.
  • The newest targeted medications and immunotherapies to attack cancer in a way that reduces side effects.
  • Advanced procedures such as robotic surgery to remove head and neck tumors while maintaining the patient’s ability to eat and speak.
  • The latest 3-D radiation technology to zero in on tumors with less exposure to healthy tissue.

Research and innovations

As Oregon’s only academic health center, OHSU is committed to excellent health care — and to medical research and education. This enables us to quickly apply discoveries in the lab to improving patient care.

Diagnosing head and neck cancers: The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute offers the most advanced procedures and tests in Oregon and southwest Washington to diagnose head and neck cancer.

New medications: OHSU was among the first to offer medications that use patients’ own biology to slow cancer, and targeted therapies that attack head and neck tumors at the molecular level.

Early detection: The Knight Cancer Institute is undertaking a major effort to detect cancers earlier, when they’re most curable. The Cancer Early Detection Advanced Research Center, or CEDAR, is bringing together some of the best minds in the world.

Research: Our doctors have published more than 100 studies related to head and neck cancer

Clinical trials: We offer patients access to a wide range of clinical trials, including our own studies of new medications for head and neck cancers.