Head and Neck Cancer

If you are or your dentist or your primary care provider is concerned about a potential cancer in the head or neck, the team at Guthrie offers comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and management of the disease. 

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

  • Swelling or lump in the neck not explained by infection or virus
  • Open sores in the mouth
  • Bleeding in the mouth or throat with continuous pain
  • A mass or lesion that is painful and impedes speech or swallowing

With any symptoms or concerns it is best to consult with either your primary care provider or an ear nose throat specialist right away so treatment can begin in the early stages of disease.

Our head and neck cancer team will see patients within 24 hours for:

  • A sore throat that does not heal or a growth in the mouth/tongue that persists
  • Blood in saliva or phlegm for several days
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Painful or painless swelling in neck or jaw
  • Ulceration or other lesions of the mouth or tongue

Call Sayre Otolaryngology at 570-887-2849 to make an appointment.


  • Smoking and tobacco use are the most common causes of cancer in the head and neck. Quitting smoking can significantly reduce chances of developing cancer.
  • Human Papliloma Virus (HPV) - certain strains of HPV can cause cancer in the back of the throat including the tonsils or base of the tongue. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and is usually referred to as “genital warts.”


  • Quit smoking and stop the use of all tobacco products
  • Get Vaccinated against the Human Papliloma Virus (HPV). Vaccination is recommended for all girls and boys age 11-12 before they are sexually active and when, studies show, their bodies will generate a better immune response.


The Guthrie team has a comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis process for head and neck cancer. Our patients meet with a board of specialists in one group meeting called a “conference.” Each doctor, from otolaryngology, oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery and oral surgery, examines the patient. Then together, with the patient, the team develops a treatment plan.

Common Cancers of the Head and Neck

  • Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Lip, Tongue and Oral Cavity Cancer
  • Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer


Dependent on the stage, location and extent of the cancer, a patient’s treatment may involve one or more of the following: surgery; chemotherapy; radiation therapy.


Guthrie has a dedicated inpatient surgical team at Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital and a fellowship-trained otolaryngologist who specializes in head and neck cancers.

  • Fine Needle Aspiration (FNA) biopsy for neck masses
  • Comprehensive surgical options for cancer resection
  • Endoscopic surgery for tumors of the larynx and pharynx
  • Organ preserving surgery for aerodigestive tract tumors
  • Complex reconstruction options in partnership with our plastics and reconstructive surgery team
  • Trans-oral Robotic Surgery (TORS)


  • Combined chemo radio therapy organ preservation programs
  • Immuno modulating chemotherapy

Radiation Therapy

  • PET/CT imaging for staging and follow up
  • Imaging techniques including high resolution ultrasound, interventional radiology and computed tomographic mapping for stereotactic treatment, and PET for staging and restaging of tumors
  • Intensity modulated radiation (IMR) therapy

Support Services

  • Speech therapy
  • Swallowing therapy
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Social rehabilitation.

Call Sayre Otolaryngology at 570-887-2849 to make an appointment.