Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer/Oral Oncology Program
Unique to the region, the Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center’s
Head and Neck Cancer/Oral Oncology program combines the
expertise and experience of world-class physicians and nurses
with that of internationally recognized dental faculty from the
University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine. Together we provide
comprehensive, coordinated, state-of-the-art care for patients
diagnosed with head and neck cancers. In addition, the program
includes renowned basic cancer researchers who are leading
programs directed to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of
The Head and Neck Cancer Program
The only service of its kind in Hartford County and the
northern half of Connecticut, the program’s multidisciplinary
team has seen hundreds of patients with head and neck cancer for
evaluation and treatment since its founding in 1989.
The Head and Neck Cancer Program treats all types of head and
neck cancer, excluding the brain and central nervous system, and
includes specialists from the following disciplines: head and
neck surgical oncology; radiation oncology; medical oncology;
oral and maxillofacial surgery; oral medicine, oral
rehabilitation services; dental hygiene, nutrition; and social
work. Specialists in neurologic surgery, prosthodontics, plastic
surgery, oculo-plastic surgery and dermatologic surgery are
readily available to assist, as necessary.
- including major resections of the oral
cavity, pharyngeal or laryngeal cancer; combined craniofacial
resections for nasal and sinus cavities; neck dissection; and Moh's
surgery for skin cancer.
with state-of-the-art Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy
(IMRT) and Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), brachytherapy
(radiation implants), stereotactic radiosurgery and
radiotherapy, and linear accelerator based radiotherapy.
- including neoadjuvant (induction) chemotherapy,
concurrent chemotherapy and radiotherapy, clinical trials, and
chemotherapy with and without radiotherapy.
- including local or
regional pedicled flaps, and microvascular free tissue transfer
- including speech and swallowing
therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy.
What to Expect During Your Medical Appointment
Patients seen in consultation by members of the head and neck
cancer team will typically be examined by all the various
participating disciplines during their initial visit. The team
then discusses various treatment options in a conference, and
returns to the patients to convey its recommendations. This
multidisciplinary approach greatly facilitates initial treatment
planning, and allows the patient and family to be presented with
a choice of treatment options, if available. In addition to
optimizing coordination of standard therapies, this approach
also helps ensure patients access to the latest clinical trials
and protocols, if applicable. Reports summarizing findings and
recommendations are sent quickly to referring physicians and
dentists, as well as primary care physicians.
Dental Medicine/Oral Oncology Services
Expert faculty and staff at the UConn School of Dental Medicine work together and with the
head and neck
cancer team to provide state-of-the-art, coordinated care
addressing the special dental needs and considerations of
patients diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck.
The Oral Oncology team includes professionals from the following
The only oral pathology biopsy
service in Connecticut. The service reviews approximately
4,300 diagnostic specimens annually. Board-certified oral
pathologists provide oral diagnostic service based in the
latest research and innovations in health care.
Comprehensive oral assessment and
treatment for cancer patients requiring urgent dental care
in the Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD)
- Assessment and treatment planning prior to
initiation of radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck. Treatment-related
dental service is coordinated with on site or
community dentists. Consultation and management of oral side
effects of cancer or cancer treatment is available.
are available, including studies focused
on oral mucositis, a common side effect of cancer treatments.
Plate reconstruction of the
mandible, bone grafts, dental implants, and tooth extractions.
Dental and oral imaging for
assessment and diagnosis of dental conditions that occur before
and after cancer treatment.
Prosthetic reconstruction of oral defects
resulting from cancer surgery performed in the prosthodontic
clinic by Drs. Agar, Taylor and program residents.
What to Expect During Your Dental/Oral Oncology Appointment
It is important that patients who will receive radiation
treatment to the head or neck get a complete dental examination prior to starting
radiation treatment. Radiation treatment can increase risks to
the teeth and bone in the years following treatment. If a complete series of dental x-rays has
not been recently taken, these will be needed as well.
Dentists who specialize in the effects on the
mouth of medical treatments and conditions will evaluate the
teeth, bones, gums and other oral tissues to determine the
patient’s level of risk for dental complications in the future.
Any recommended dental treatment needs that are identified can
be quickly accommodated to allow radiation treatment to begin as
soon as possible. Services are arranged through either the
patient’s community dentist or a dentist on site at the School
The oral oncology team works with the medical oncology team
to conduct clinical trials targeting oral mucositis, a common
side effect of radiation treatment.
Our Specialists and Staff
Oral and Maxillofacial
Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Joseph D’Ambrosio, D.D.S., M.S.
- Rajesh V. Lalla, D.D.S., Ph.D., C.C.R.P.
- Douglas E. Peterson, D.M.D., Ph.D.
- Linda Choquette, R.D.H., M.S.H.S., C.C.R.P.
Oral Pathology Biopsy Service
Basic Science and Population
Request an Appointment
To schedule a
consultation or for more information, call 800-579-7822 or 860-679-2100.
At UConn Health
On the Web
Dr. Douglas Peterson talks about prevention, detection and
treatment of head and neck cancers.
Listen to the presentation