Pediatric Head and Neck Cancer

In partnership with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, we bring together a team of highly experienced specialists to provide children with tumors of the head and neck, whether benign or malignant, with the very best plan for treatment and recovery. To request an appointment, call (404) 778-0278.

Although tumors of the head and neck are rare in children, they can have devastating consequences on their quality of life. Modern, team-based approaches utilizing current tumor removal techniques and reconstruction can offer pediatric patients a meaningful recovery and restore them to full function.

At Winship, we believe that children should have the same access to the highest-quality care as their adult counterparts. As a result, we have partnered with colleagues from Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and Emory Proton Therapy Center to bring together a wide range of specialists including pediatric otolaryngologists and head and neck surgeons, reconstructive surgeons, pediatric oral and maxillofacial surgeons, pediatric oncologists and radiation oncologists to treat pediatric tumors of the head and neck.

Located on the 10th floor of Emory University Hospital Midtown, our head and neck program clinic was designed with the knowledge that patients do better when clinicians can interact and collaborate. In our clinic, patients can stay in one space and have multiple providers come to them during a single appointment.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to leading experts in the treatment of pediatric tumors of the head and neck who rank among the top experts in the world.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by a multidisciplinary team of specialists.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Availability of innovative treatment options through clinical trials in surgery, radiation and systemic therapy.
  • Access to support programs and groups for you and your caregivers.

Request an Appointment

If your child has been diagnosed with a tumor of the head and neck, we are ready to help. Contact our Emory Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Clinic at (404) 778-0278 to request an appointment. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help.

Tumors of the head and neck affect the mouth, throat, nose and sinuses and salivary glands. Oral and oropharyngeal, laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers as well as endocrine and skullbase tumors are included in this group of diseases.

At Winship, our multidisciplinary team of experts treat a variety of malignant tumors of the head and neck including sarcomas such as rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma, liposarcoma, angiosarcoma, desmoid tumor and others, as well as carcinomas such as squamous cell carcinoma, mucoepidermoid carcinoma, acinic cell carcinoma and adenoid cystic carcinoma. Our experts also treat benign conditions including congenital tumors, salivary tumors and tumors of the jaw.

There are several ways your child's physician may diagnose for head and neck cancer:

  • Physical examination.
  • Imaging via CT, MRI or PET scans with reviews by head and neck cancer radiology experts.
  • Endoscopy: flexible or rigid endoscopes are used to look for abnormal tissue throughout the head and neck.
  • Biopsy: a small sample of tissue is examined by a pathologist under a microscope to look for cancerous cells.

Our head and neck specialists provide one or more of the following types of treatment:

Surgery: the main purpose of surgery for head and neck cancer patients is to remove the tumor and some of the healthy tissue around it so that there is an adequate margin of resection. Reconstructive surgical options are also discussed before the start of treatment.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used in combination with surgery or radiation to maximize the treatment. It can also be used to treat advanced disease by itself or as part of a clinical trial program.

Radiation: Radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. It may also be used in combination with a chemotherapy drug that makes the radiation more effective.

Proton therapy: Proton therapy is the next generation of radiation oncology. It uses protons to treat cancerous tumors throughout the body and can be more targeted than conventional forms of radiation treatment. This can lead to fewer side effects. The Emory Proton Therapy Center is the only center of its kind in Georgia to offer patients access to this state-of-the-art radiation therapy.

Immunotherapy: At Winship, this type of treatment is available as a standard of care and uses your body's immune system to recognize and to enhance its ability to tackle cancer cells.

Targeted therapies: Winship's most promising research in treating head and neck cancer is in personalized medicine and targeted therapies. In targeted therapies, investigators look for new drugs that more selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects.

Supportive Oncology Care

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.

Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

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Shelly Abramowicz DMD, MPH, FACS

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon
Photo of 
                                 Shelly Abramowicz DMD, MPH, FACS
Shelly Abramowicz DMD, MPH, FACS

Shelly Abramowicz DMD, MPH, FACS

Bree Eaton MD

  • Radiation Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Bree Eaton MD
Bree Eaton MD

Bree Eaton MD

Mark W. El-Deiry MD, FACS

  • Head and Neck Surgeon
Photo of 
                                 Mark W.  El-Deiry MD, FACS
Mark W. El-Deiry MD, FACS

Mark W. El-Deiry MD, FACS

Sarah G. Mitchell MD

  • Pediatric Oncologist
Photo of 
                                 Sarah G. Mitchell MD
Sarah G. Mitchell MD

Sarah G. Mitchell MD

  • Dr. Mitchell focuses her clinical care on treating children with solid tumors and rare tumors.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 785-1112

Kara K. Prickett MD

  • Pediatric Otolaryngologist
Photo of 
                                 Kara K. Prickett MD
Kara K. Prickett MD

Kara K. Prickett MD

  • Dr. Prickett specializes in the care of neonatal and pediatric head and neck tumors and airway concerns.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 785-1112

Martha J. Ryan MS, FNP-C

  • Lead Nurse Practitioner
Photo of 
                                 Martha J. Ryan MS, FNP-C
Martha J. Ryan MS, FNP-C

Martha J. Ryan MS, FNP-C

  • Working with the physician team at the Emory Head and Neck Surgery Center, Ms. Ryan coordinates surgical care for head and neck oncology patients.
  • Lead Advanced Practice Provider, Emory Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-0278
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