Advanced Cancer Diagnostics

Find your care

Our Head and Neck Cancer Program helps you start on the road to recovery. For more information, connect with a cancer care specialist at 310-774-6275​​​​​​​.

Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis

The pathway to conquering cancer starts with correctly evaluating the type and extent of the disease.  This often requires considerable clinical experience and latest technologies.  As part of a large academic medical center, UCLA HNCP has put together a group of highly experienced and nationally recognized clinicians in head and neck oncology, diagnostic radiology, and pathology to achieve this goal.  

UCLA Clinicians

UCLA Medical Center ranks among the top 20 technologically advanced hospitals in the world (#1 in California), with access to the state-of-the-art technology for cancer diagnostics.  Some of these technologies are listed below: 

  • Advanced office-based, distal-chip endoscopy and biopsy
  • CT and PET scans with fusion
  • Advanced 3Tesla MRI technology with diffusion and perfusion imaging
  • 3D rendering of head and neck images
  • Fine needle aspiration biopsy guided by CT, MRI or ultrasound imaging
  • Advanced molecular markers for cancer diagnostics such as HPV/p16

Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis: What to Expect

We focus on the emerging era of cancer management in which treatment is tailored to the unique genetic changes in each patient’s cancer. Before determining your course of treatment, we work to determine the subtype of cancer so that we can tailor our therapies.

  • Our specialized head and neck pathologists review tissue samples obtained from biopsy or surgery.
  • We perform special tests to see if the tumors express special biomarkers such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and p16.
  • We also consider the proliferation index, which is a measure of how many times cancerous cells have divided.

Genetic Research for Head and Neck Cancer

Using the research discoveries in genetics made at UCLA over the past several years, we hope to personalize preventive and therapeutic strategies for patients. In the past, cancer was a general name for a group containing hundreds of diseases. Based on the new genetic understanding of cancer pioneered at UCLA, cancer may actually be closer to 500 diseases.

Our goal is for all cancer patients at the HNCP to have their tumors analyzed to determine their unique fingerprint, a specific combination of genetic changes. This progress will change the way we study new drugs and use old ones.

Instead of trying medications on all head and neck cancer patients, we can use those that target the specific genetic change associated with their cancer. This precision will ensure that the best treatments get to the right patients.

Advanced Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis