Head and neck cancer care in NW Florida | Ascension
Man carrying a boy; ENT specialists at Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Care deliver advanced care for head and neck cancer.

Advanced care for head and neck cancers

Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Care in Northwest Florida delivers comprehensive cancer care for head and neck cancers.

At Ascension Sacred Heart in Pensacola, Florida, you’ll find specialists who are part of a national team of doctors, sharing best practices, advanced treatments and the latest in cancer care knowledge and research of head and neck cancer care – bringing the best of oncology to you, close to home. Head and neck cancer, also called oral cancer, does not include brain cancer or cancer of the eye, but does include cancer of the:

  • Lymph nodes in the neck, thyroid and parathyroid gland
  • Mouth, tongue, lips, gums, tonsils
  • Nose and sinuses
  • Salivary glands
  • Throat, including vocal cords and surrounding structures

Your care team will include a multidisciplinary team of doctors prioritizing early and personalized treatment: board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeons, ear, nose and throat doctors, radiologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, plastic surgeons, endocrinologists, and a dedicated team of oncology nurses, dietitians and cancer specialists.

When you’re going through head and neck cancer care, we’re by your side

Cancer is personal, so is the way we care for you. You’ll have face-to-face visits with your doctor, and you’ll have an entire care team, dedicated to your care – connecting the dots for you. Your doctor and care team will take the time to answer all your questions – big and small. By getting to know you and working together, you get a care plan that’s customized to your needs. And with a plan, comes hope. Our goal is to help you recover faster so you can get back to home, family, life and self.


Team approach helps navigate tests and support services

Along the way, your care may require imaging, lab tests, pharmacy support, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy or other specialists — you do not have to navigate your care alone. Your care team will help you schedule appointments and connect with other services you need. When you have a concern or feel unsure, don’t hesitate to talk with your care team.

Comprehensive head and neck cancer care at Ascension Sacred Heart

At Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Center, we deliver the latest surgical technologies and techniques, high-tech radiation facilities, medication treatments, and support services.

Experienced endocrine and head and neck surgeons collaborate with other surgical specialists to deliver advanced care before, during and after head and neck cancer surgery. For throat cancer surgery and thyroid and parathyroid gland surgery, our surgeons visualize the throat structures using advanced techniques, including 3D imaging and endoscopic nerve monitoring technology to deliver advanced surgical treatments that support your safety and may lead to a faster recovery.

Head and neck cancer treatment options will vary based on the type and stage of cancer. At Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Care, our care teams have access to non-surgical therapies and advanced ENT surgical treatments, including:

  • Chemotherapy and immunotherapy
  • Endoscopic laser surgery
  • Lymph node surgery
  • Reconstructive (plastic and ENT) surgery
  • Stereotactic radiation therapy
  • Surgical tumor removal
  • Therapy for swallowing disorders and speech-communication
  • Ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation of thyroid nodules


Benefits of our approach to head and neck cancer care

Cancer specialists who know you and your condition review your treatment and progress. They work together to customize your overall care plan to support your physical well-being and mental and emotional health.

Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Care offers comprehensive cancer care, including:

  • Diagnostic tests — We offer biopsy tests and the latest endoscopic procedures to evaluate your mouth, sinuses, thyroid and parathyroid glands, throat and esophagus for cancer cells.
  • ENT specialists Experienced surgeons deliver advanced surgical care to remove precancerous cells and tumors using an enhanced recovery process.
  • Medical oncology  Your medical oncologist works with your head and neck cancer surgeon to deliver advanced care (chemotherapy and targeted immunotherapy) to help stop cancer spread.
  • Radiation oncology Advanced radiation therapy is used to target and destroy cancer cells while avoiding damage to the surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Clinical trials If you want to learn more about other possible cancer care options, talk to your doctor. You may want to ask whether cancer clinical trials are the right option for you.
  • Genetic counseling and testing If you are high-risk or have a family history of cancer, we deliver cancer genetic screening, testing and counseling to help you and your doctor better understand your risk for developing cancer.
  • Reconstructive (plastic) surgery Your cancer care team and cancer surgeon works together with plastic surgeons who provide reconstructive facial and soft tissue surgery, as needed after your primary cancer treatment. Options may include scar reduction, nose and cheek implants, skin grafts and more. Your care team works with you to create a care plan to help you to look and feel more like yourself again.
  • Endocrinologists Doctors specializing in hormone therapy and endocrine diseases provide advanced diagnostic and therapeutic care options to support your recovery after surgery.
  • Speech-language pathologists — Speech therapists deliver personalized therapies to help improve vocal cord recovery, swallowing and how your facial muscles respond.
  • Support programs and resources — Your cancer care team provides support from nutrition education and counseling to cancer support groups and spiritual care. And, at Ascension Sacred Heart sites of care, our healing gardens and chapels are always open to patients and your loved ones. We offer supportive care and activities for the whole you.

Get a second opinion on your cancer diagnosis or care plan

Get the confidence and peace of mind that your doctor and care plan are right for you. It's easy to get a second opinion at Ascension Sacred Heart. We can review your medical records and healthcare history to answer your questions and discuss options. Talk with one of our doctors about a personalized care plan.

When you have received a new head and neck cancer diagnosis or are deciding on a surgical or therapeutic treatment plan, there’s a lot to think about. Our cancer specialists can provide a second opinion, based on our experience and as part of a national team.

Before your appointment, check with your insurance company to find out if a second opinion is covered. We can request your medical records on your behalf, so that they can be shared with your care team before your arrival.


Frequently asked questions about our head and neck cancer care services

  • What is your cancer center known for?

    Your doctor and care team get to know you well, and you’ll receive care for the whole person – your  physical and mental health. We also provide compassionate, personalized support for your family and caregivers. At Ascension Sacred Heart Cancer Center, we provide innovative medication treatments, the latest surgical technologies and techniques, high-tech radiation facilities and support services. Our cancer providers are part of a national team of cancer specialists sharing the latest in cancer care knowledge and research. Find a location.

  • Are there preventive screenings for head and neck (oral) cancer?

    Getting a regular oral exam by your doctor or dentist may help find head and neck cancer early, when it’s most treatable. Doctors and dentists may use an infrared light to help visualize abnormal cells in the mouth and throat. During an endoscopic procedure, a lighted scope helps your doctor view your throat past your tonsils. When you choose ear, nose and throat specialists at Ascension Sacred Heart for your care, you are connected to all the care you need – from routine screenings to advanced care.

  • What tests are used to diagnose head and neck cancer?

    Your care team focuses on identifying if the tumor is non-invasive or invasive and to understand where the tumor began and whether or not the cancer has spread. Diagnostic blood testing, imaging and endoscopic procedures can help your doctor diagnose your condition and stage even the most rare cancers. And we use advanced genetic and molecular studies to recognize head and neck cancer subtypes to create a care plan for your type of cancer.

  • Who is on my cancer care team?

    Hearing the word cancer comes with a lot of thoughts and emotions, and we’re ready to support you. You'll meet with your doctor to discuss your diagnosis and your care options. At Ascension Sacred Heart, your care team may include:

    • ENT specialist and surgeon
    • Endocrinologist
    • Medical oncologist
    • Oncology-certified nurses, dietitians and social workers
    • Oncology-certified pharmacist
    • Palliative care specialist
    • Plastic surgeon
    • Radiation oncologist
    • Radiologist
    • Speech-language pathologist
    • Other specialists, including a dentist or maxillofacial surgeon
  • Who should I call when I have questions?

    At Ascension Sacred Heart, you get an entire team dedicated to your care. You may have a lot of concerns and questions. Your doctor and care team are ready to listen and answer your questions. Working together, we offer services that help support your treatment plan, including managing pain and other symptoms, medications, appetite changes, difficulty swallowing, sleeplessness, fatigue and mood changes. Your care team stays connected throughout your care to discuss your treatment and progress.

  • Is financial assistance and support available?

    We can connect you with resources and programs that may be able to help you and your family with options for financial assistance. Our financial counseling team is here to listen to your concerns and work with you to help find options that meet your needs. Your cancer care navigator can connect you to a financial counselor.

  • Where do I park?

    At Ascension Sacred Heart cancer center and clinics we offer convenient parking. Talk to your care navigator if you have transportation needs.

  • My doctor told me about an enhanced recovery program. What is that?

    Surgical oncologists and anesthesiologists provide enhanced recovery pathways as part of your surgical care plan. They are an important part of our cancer treatment programs. Each pathway is personalized for different types of cancer treatment, to help speed up your recovery after surgery. Your care team uses these protocols to help you prepare for what to expect before, during and after surgery.

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