Your Head and Neck Cancer Team at the University of Colorado Cancer Center
The University of Colorado Hospital and the University of Colorado Cancer Center use a team approach to your care. That means we bring all types of cancer specialists – including surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, nurses, social workers, geneticists, counselors and more – to review your case, follow its progress and develop ways to achieve the best results.
Medical knowledge, as you might know, doubles every four years. Keeping up with it all is often hard for a community physician. And since we’re the only hospital in the region to partner with the renowned University of Colorado School of Medicine, each attending physician here is on the faculty of the School of Medicine.
For you, that means each doctor on your care team has precise, ongoing training in his or her area of expertise and has a specific interest in head and neck cancer treatment. During their weekly Head and Neck Tumor Board Conference, these doctors combine their expertise to explore the best available treatment options for you, and are happy to work with you and your other physicians to put them in motion.
Below is a list of the kinds of experts on our team who are at your service.
Medical Oncologist – A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer using chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and biological therapy. A medical oncologist often serves as the main caretaker of someone who has cancer and coordinates treatment provided by other specialists.
Radiation Oncologist – A doctor who treats patients with cancer using radiation therapy as the main treatment.
Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon – A doctor who is specially trained in surgery for head and neck cancer and ear, nose and throat (ENT) problems. They are also trained in reconstructive surgery.
Pathologist – A doctor who identifies disease by studying tissues under a microscope
Radiologist – A doctor who uses medical imaging technologies like CT scans, PET scans and MRIs to diagnose and sometimes treat disease, and determine the effectiveness of various treatments.
Oncology Nurse – A nurse who specializes in treating and caring for people who have cancer.
Nutritionist – A trained health professional who helps patients maintain optimal nutritional intake to preserve strength and promote healing during the treatment process. The location of head and neck tumors and the discomfort from surgery and radiation in those areas may cause patients to have difficulty eating and maintaining adequate nutrition.
Social Worker – A professional trained to provide counseling and emotional support to patients and assist with practical living issues, such as minimizing the effects of lost work time, coping with disabilities and paying medical expenses.
Speech-Language Pathologist – A trained health professional who evaluates and treats head and neck cancer patients who have speech, voice and swallowing difficulties. Patients are seen before, during and after treatment. Speech pathologists provide exercises and strategies for improving voice, speech and swallowing abilities.