Newly Diagnosed

Newly Diagnosed Head or Neck Cancer? What You Should Know

Our experienced, compassionate team is dedicated to turning people with cancer into survivors. If you have recently been diagnosed with head or neck cancer, you’re probably thinking hard about what to do next. We recognize that a diagnosis of head or neck cancer is serious and may be frightening. Selecting where to get treatment is your most important decision. Our goal is to see you as soon as possible so you can start your treatment as soon as possible.

First Treatment Is a Crucial Decision

Studies have shown that the first treatment you receive for cancer is by far the most important. Patients who begin their treatment through Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) often have better outcomes than those who started treatment elsewhere.

You will have access to advanced therapies, including those being explored in clinical studies for head and neck cancers conducted at SCCA and its founding organizations, Fred Hutch and UW Medicine.

Get Collaborative Care

At SCCA, we take a collaborative approach to treating head and neck cancers. Our multidisciplinary group consists of surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and speech pathologists. These specialists combine their respective expertise and evaluate each patient’s case using advanced imaging techniques and other factors to tailor treatment to the individual. This unique process allows us to achieve the best treatment and quality-of-life outcomes for each patient.

In addition to our doctors, you will receive care from a range of other health care professionals, including nutritionists, pharmacists, advanced practice providers, nurses, supportive care specialists, and social workers. Together as a coordinated team, they will provide you with the treatments and services you need when you need them. Coordination makes care convenient, efficient, and easier for you. Our goals are to make sure you fully understand your options and to help you reach decisions about your treatment. Empowering you to participate in decisions and lead your own care is part of the healing process.

Treatment That’s Right for You

If you or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with head or neck cancer, here are a few thoughts to consider:

  • All cancers are not the same. There are many types of head and neck cancer. The treatment that a friend or relative received may not be the best treatment for you. Your health care team can explain the options and discuss which combination is most likely to help you. You may want to read about common treatment options to learn more.
  • Don’t rush into a decision about treatment. In most cases, you have time to consider your options and get a second opinion to help you decide what kind of treatment is right for you.
  • A diagnosis of cancer can feel overwhelming. We have an experienced, compassionate team ready to help you adjust to what’s happening—offering medical as well as emotional and spiritual support. It may be helpful to join a support group or talk to a social worker or chaplain.
  • Ask someone you trust to go with you to doctors’ appointments and tests. This person can provide emotional support. A friend or family member can also help by keeping track of questions you want to ask, taking notes, and doing research on your disease and treatment options.

To find out about becoming an SCCA patient, call (800) 804-8824 or (206) 288-SCCA (7222). Or ask your doctor to call us to talk about your condition and treatment options.