Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis

A head and neck cancer diagnosis can be shocking. Experts at Cedars-Sinai help you move forward with your life. You have access to the latest head and neck cancer treatments and the personalized attention you deserve.

What Is Head and Neck Cancer?

This group of cancers can affect many areas in your head or neck, including your:

  • Ears
  • Mouth 
  • Nose and the surrounding areas (sinuses)
  • Salivary glands
  • Skull
  • Throat or tonsils
  • Thyroid

Our Approach to Head and Neck Cancer

We offer a level of care that's not widely available in the Los Angeles area. You benefit from the expertise of nationally recognized head and neck cancer specialists who understand your unique needs.

Highlights of our program include:

Precise Care

You receive multiple tests allowing us to confirm the type and size of cancer with a high degree of accuracy. Our team includes head and neck cancer pathologists who analyze tissue samples under a microscope. An accurate diagnosis means you will receive the most effective treatments.

Latest Treatments

You have access to the best treatments available, including transoral robotic surgery, advanced radiation therapy techniques and precision medicine. Our offerings include surgical technologies that remove cancer through small incisions. We also offer new cancer medications that are only available at the nation’s leading cancer centers, through our head and neck cancer clinical trials.


We take extra steps to make your treatment a less stressful experience for you and your loved ones. Our head and neck cancer patient navigator coordinates the appointments you need. And our cancer psychologists and social workers can help address problems such as anxiety and depression.

Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms you experience depend on the location of the cancer and how severe it is.

Common head and neck cancer symptoms include:

  • A sore throat
  • An abnormal lump in your neck, ear or mouth
  • Weak facial muscles, including difficulty moving your mouth
  • Patches of red or white tissue inside your mouth
  • Difficulty eating or swallowing
  • Problems with your voice or ability to speak
  • Unusual bleeding in your mouth

HPV-Related Throat Cancer

If you have human papillomavirus (HPV), you are at risk for certain types of cancer, including throat cancer. If you receive a cancer diagnosis, your care may be different from people who don't have HPV.

Throat cancer in people with HPV typically responds to gentle treatments. It is also less likely to come back. Read our HPV throat cancer brochure.

We successfully treat many people with HPV throat cancer using transoral robotic surgery (TORS). This technique uses sophisticated technology to remove cancer and lowers your risk of long-term side effects. 

Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis

We confirm or rule out a head and neck cancer diagnosis using a tissue sample (biopsy). Our pathologist examines the biopsy to determine the type and severity of the cancer.

You also have access to sophisticated fusion imaging studies that combine different types of tests into one procedure. Our offerings include PET/MRI and PET/CT, which capture a level of detail that is not possible through separate tests. We use this information to plan effective treatments.

Head and Neck Cancer Treatment

Head and neck cancer treatment often includes surgery to remove the cancer. Your care may also include chemotherapy and radiation. Additional services, including specialized physical therapy and swallow therapy, help restore your quality of life.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call or send a message to the Head and Neck Cancer care team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 24 hours a day