External beam radiation is the most common radiation therapy used to treat head and neck cancers, including cancers in the throat, tongue, tonsils and larynx. Brachytherapy (internal radiation) is occasionally used to treat head and neck cancers that are located in a well-defined region. At Johns Hopkins, our radiation oncologists are anatomy experts who are experienced in treating head and neck cancers using a personalized, results-driven approach that minimizes pain and damage to nearby body structures.
Our Head and Neck Cancer Treatments
Our radiation oncologists use the following types of external radiation techniques to treat head and neck cancers:
Intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) – delivers targeted radiation doses to the tumor site, patterned to match the shape of the tumor through modulating the intensity of the radiation beams.
Tomotherapy – uses detailed, three-dimensional maps of a tumor’s size and location. Then the machine delivers small beamlets of radiation from various angles, providing exceptional accuracy when targeting tumors.
Stereotactic radiosurgery – is a nonsurgical radiation therapy that can be used as an alternative to invasive surgery. The technology delivers multiple radiation beams from different angles and planes. Three-dimensional images are used to determine the exact location of the tumor.
Proton Therapy – Proton therapy is a form of targeted radiation treatment that uses energy from positively charged particles called protons. Protons very precisely zero in on tumors, delivering most of their cancer-fighting energy directly to cancer cells while minimizing radiation exposure and damage to neighboring healthy tissue and organs. The therapy reduces the risk of late effects after treatment.