Head and neck cancer comprises roughly 5% of newly diagnosed cancers in the United States each year, or about 60,000 cases annually. These tumors have tremendous impact on lifestyle and quality of life, because they involve the parts of the body that are critical to breathing, eating, swallowing, and taste. In addition, these tumors strongly affect human characteristics such as appearance, speech, and voice.
The Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery at the University of Washington has established a leadership position in outcomes research in head and neck cancer. Dr. Ernest Weymuller, since assuming the chair in 1992, has developed his long-standing interest in studying outcomes after treatment of head and neck cancer in several directions. He has been involved with the creation of a large scale database for head and neck cancer patients, and created the University of Washington Quality of Life Instrument . In addition, he has recruited a number of outstanding investigators and residents who have made great strides in our understanding of quality of life, and have produced novel methods for examining outcomes after head and neck cancer. The Department has achieved international attention for its efforts.
Investigators in the Department of Otolaryngology are actively pursuing research in a variety of topics in head and neck cancer. We have ongoing projects in each of the areas listed below. We encourage you to explore these sites for more information.
Quality of life in head and neck cancer
Methods for multi-institutional data collection ('Otobase')
Optimal strategies for follow-up of patients with head and neck cancer