Head and Neck Tumor Center

The diagnosis and treatment of tumor diseases of the head and neck region at the Head and Neck Tumor Center of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich pose a special challenge. Due to the possible impairment of central functions such as breathing, swallowing and speaking, the top priority is not only to cure the tumor disease but also to preserve function.

Numerous disciplines of modern medicine are involved in both the diagnosis (pathology, neuroradiology) – and treatment (Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Clinic for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Radio-Oncology, Internal Oncology) of tumor diseases of this central area. It is thus a distinctly interdisciplinary field that relies on excellent cooperation between the various fields. In our weekly tumor boards, we jointly discuss interdisciplinary findings and therapy recommendations for our patients. This enables optimal medical care tailored to the individual needs of people suffering from cancer. Thanks to our intensive research and the numerous clinical trials we develop and conduct at our center, we are able to offer our patients new and innovative cancer therapies.

Definition head and neck tumors

At the Head and Neck Tumor Center, malignant tumors of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nose and salivary glands are treated. In most cases, these are mucosal tumors, the so-called squamous cell carcinomas.

Common symptoms of patients with head and neck tumors include non-healing changes in the oral mucosa or gums, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, swelling of the throat, and pain.

If the symptoms described do not improve within 4-6 weeks, the patient should be seen by a specialist who can initiate further clarification steps.

Our expertise

We offer the entire spectrum of preventive care, diagnostics, therapy and aftercare of tumor diseases of the head and neck region. Special emphasis is placed on minimally invasive procedures using robotic and laser surgery in early stages and complex open surgical procedures with reconstructive measures in advanced tumors, usually in combination with radiation and possibly also chemotherapy or antibody therapy, in order to make the best possible use of the chances of cure (multimodal therapy). The reconstructive measures serve to replace soft tissues (tongue, pharynx) and/or bony structures (jawbone) with patient-specific implants, which are optimally adapted to the individual anatomy of the patient by combining computer-assisted surgery with modern CAD/CAM technologies.
Depending on the localization of the tumor, primary radiotherapy is the treatment of choice with the goal of organ and function preservation. Thanks to the latest techniques, most of the healthy organs at risk, such as the swallowing muscles, salivary glands and nerves, can nowadays be largely spared, thus avoiding severe late effects. Our clinic is one of the first in the world to use MR-guided adaptive planning technology for head and neck tumors.

Interdisciplinary Intake Consultation

To ensure that no time is lost from suspicion to the start of therapy, patients with a suspected tumor are comprehensively clarified in a predefined and patient-centered process within three days and then immediately receive a recommendation for their individual therapy. The involvement of physicians and nursing, nuclear medicine, neuroradiology, pathology, anesthesiology, speech therapy and nutritional counseling gives us a comprehensive picture of each patient. This is helped by the fact that discussions with patients also take place in a joint consultation. This concept has since won several awards and is constantly being further developed.

Contact

Our offer

  • Sound initial clarification and diagnosis of head and neck tumors using modern imaging and molecular diagnostics.
  • Innovative and personalized treatment according to the highest medical standards and incorporating the latest research findings in the fields of surgery, radiotherapy and targeted system and immunotherapies.
  • Professional and ongoing support and guidance during your time at our center from our specialized “Head and Neck Nurse” – a nursing expert in head and neck tumors.
  • Supportive counseling and treatment services for holistic, meaning physical, psychosocial and emotional, support.
  • Comprehensive follow-up.

Contact

University Hospital Zurich
Comprehensive Cancer Center Zurich
Head and Neck Tumor Center
Rämistrasse 100
8091 Zurich

Tel. +41 44 255 58 60

Our experts

Simon Müller, Dr. med.

Attending Physician with extended responsibilites, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Tel. +41 44 255 58 50

Elisabeth Goetze, Dr. med. Dr. med. dent.

Attending Physician, Department of Cranio-Maxillo-Facial and Oral Surgery

Tel. +41 44 255 30 58

Participating clinics and institutions

At the Head and Neck Tumor Center of the CCCZ, numerous departments work together in an interdisciplinary manner. In this way, we combine the knowledge of all experts to provide holistic medical care for our patients.

Research at the Head and Neck Tumor Center

At the Head and Neck Tumor Center, we actively conduct research to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic concepts against tumor diseases of the head and neck region. The focal points of our research are:

  • Significance of human papillomaviruses in the development of head and neck tumors.
  • Role of biomarkers in blood for diagnosis, therapy monitoring and tumor follow-up in head and neck cancer patients.
  • Evaluation of psychological distress or relief of patients by the almost track clarification.
  • Comparison of different therapeutic modalities in prospective studies regarding tumor control and quality of life in head and neck cancer.
  • Research on radiation resistance and radiation sensitization.
  • Automation of target volume definition.
  • Determination of radiological prognostic factors using artificial intelligence (“radiomics”).
  • Optimization of individualized chemo- and immunotherapies in curative and palliative treatment concepts of head and neck tumors.
  • MR-guided adaptive radiotherapy of head and neck tumors

The Head and Neck Tumor Center is certified according to the strict guidelines of the German Cancer Society.