The Head and Neck Cancer Center is a major provider for patients with early-stage, recurrent, or aggressive head and neck cancers. The nationally recognized team of multidisciplinary specialists who care for these patients collaborate to manage patient care from the first consultation through treatment and follow-up. They combine their expertise in patient care with state-of-the-art treatment options while actively participating in clinical trials to provide tomorrow’s treatments today.

For more information or to refer a patient, call 617.414.4913 or email Patients with a diagnosis or strong suspicion of cancer are seen within 72 hours.

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Cancer Surgery

The goal of cancer surgery is to remove the cancerous tissue and a ring of normal tissue around it. The surgery may also include removing lymph nodes from the neck. Reconstructive plastic surgery may be needed if the cancer is widespread and requires extensive tissue removal. These may include surgery to the tongue, jawbone, facial skin, pharynx, or larynx. In cases such as this, tissue from other parts of the body, like the forearm or leg, can be transplanted to give patients the best possible cosmetic and functional outcomes.

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Radiation Therapy

Radiation uses special equipment to deliver high-energy particles, such as x-rays, gamma rays, electron beams or protons, to kill or damage cancer cells. Radiation (also called radiotherapy, irradiation, or x-ray therapy) can be delivered internally through seed implantation or externally using linear accelerators (called external beam radiotherapy, or EBRT).

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External Beam Radiation Therapy

External beam radiation therapy is one of the most common types of radiation for cancer treatment. Radiation comes from a machine outside the body and delivers radiation to a specific location inside the body.

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CyberKnife delivers highly targeted beams of radiation directly into tumors, in a pain-free, non-surgical way. Guided by specialized imaging software, we can track and continually adjust treatment at any point in the body, and without the need for the head frames and other equipment that are needed for some other forms of radiosurgery.

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Chemotherapy is a medication or combination of medications used to treat cancer. Chemotherapy can be given orally (as a pill) or injected intravenously (IV).

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For patients with advanced-stage melanoma, immunotherapy may improve the body’s natural immune response to cancer. Immunotherapy recruits the body’s own immune system and uses it to fight cancer all over the body, making it difficult for cancer cells to hide or develop defenses against it. Immunotherapy has the potential to keep working even after the patient has completed treatment.

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Integrative Therapy

Integrative medicine practices have been shown to reduce cancer-related symptoms such as pain, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. The Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Care Disparities in the Department of Family Medicine at BMC combines conventional medical treatments with evidence-based complementary therapies. Free therapeutic massage to decrease preoperative anxiety and postoperative pain in cancer patients undergoing surgical procedures is available. In the Moakley Building, where BMC conducts much of its cancer care, a registered yoga instructor holds free biweekly yoga classes, and a licensed acupuncturist offers free acupuncture to cancer patients. Participants in these sessions have gained notable clinical benefits, reporting decreases in pain, depression, anxiety, nausea, and fatigue. Services to individual patients complement group activities. Consultations that focus on stress management, nutrition, and coordination of complementary therapies are also available.

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Laser Surgery

A laser is a very narrow focused beam of light. Laser surgery for cancer uses this beam of light to shrink or destroy cancer cells. It can also be used to remove a tumor without damaging the healthy tissue around it. This causes less pain, bleeding, infections, and scarring than other types of surgery or treatments.

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Robotic Surgery

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Our Team

BMC’s comprehensive Head and Neck Cancer Center of Excellence team includes physicians who work in head and neck surgical oncology and skull base surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, pathology, radiology, nuclear medicine, and speech language pathology. The team’s patient-centered, multidisciplinary approach assures each patient benefits from the collaborative expertise of physicians uniquely focused on their individual needs.

Head and Neck Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery Team

Heather A Edwards, MD


Special Interests

Surgical treatment of cancers of the head and neck region, including minimally invasive surgical approaches and complex microvascular reconstruction after tumor excision

Dr. Heather Edwards Head and Neck Cancer within Otolaryngology

Daniel L Faden, MD


Special Interests

Minimally invasive surgery, management of HPV related oropharynx cancer.

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Kelly S. Sayre, DMD, MD

Oral Surgeon

Special Interests

Oral Cancer, Oral Pathology, Jaw Tumors, Oral and Maxillofacial Reconstructive Surgery, Microvascular Surgery

Marcus A. Couey, DDS, MD


Special Interests

Oral / Head and Neck Cancer; Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery; Nerve Repair

Dr. Marcus Couey, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Anand K Devaiah, MD


Special Interests

Endoscopic minimally invasive skull base surgery, otologic/vestibular disorders, lateral skull base diseases and tumors, anterior skull base tumors/paranasal sinus diseases, head and neck surgery, head and neck cancer, and general otolaryngology.

Otolaryngology doctor headshot

Gregory A Grillone, MD


Special Interests

Laryngology, minimally invasive surgery of the upper aerodigestive tract, sleep surgery, laser surgery, head and neck cancer surgery

Jacob P Noordzij, MD


Special Interests

Adult and pediatric laryngology, care of the professional voice, airway disorders, thyroid and parathyroid disorders, head and neck cancer, swallowing disorders

Lauren F Tracy, MD


Special Interests

Hoarseness, voice disorders, professional voice care, dysplasia, vocal cord cancer, office-based laser laryngeal surgery, airway and swallowing disorders, diseases of the trachea and esophagus

Waleed H Ezzat, MD

Head and Neck Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon

Special Interests

Facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty, facelift, eyelid surgery, reconstructive surgery

Otolaryngology doctor headshot

Medical Oncology Team

Peter C Everett, MD


Special Interests

Thoracic and head and neck cancers, immunotherapy

Radiation Oncology Team

Minh T Truong, MD

Chief of Radiation Oncology

Special Interests

Head and neck, skin and central nervous system malignancies, airway amyloidosis

Speech Language Pathology Team

Jessica M Pisegna, PhD, MS-CCC-SLP, MEd

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Cognitive Deficits and Aphasia (language problems), Reflux-related disorders

Meredith B O'Dea, MS, CCC-SLP

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Dysphonia (voice problems), Reflux-related disorders, Alaryngeal Rehabilitation included Tracheoesophageal (TEP) Voice Restoration/Management

Kailey Vitale, MA, CCC-SLP

Special Interests

Dysphagia (swallowing problems), Alaryngeal rehabilitation including tracheoesophageal (TEP) voice restoration/management, Evaluation and treatment of swallowing problems after head and neck cancer

Nutrition Team

Briana Pineau, MS, RD, LDN

Clinical Trials

BMC offers a number of clinical trials specifically for head and neck cancer patients. Promising new techniques in the diagnosis, treatment, and care of patients with head and neck cancers are tested in these studies. The number and types of clinical trials available are constantly changing. View an up-to-date list of ongoing trials here. Those interested in participating in any clinical trials at BMC should talk with their physician.


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