Lucien Nedzi, M.D.
As Lucien Nedzi, M.D., walks through the clinic each day, he is struck by the challenges and complexities that each patient, each case, represents. As Associate Professor and Medical Director of the Department of Radiation Oncology, Dr. Nedzi is responsible for managing the overall quality of care patients receive in the Department’s two main clinics, in which he leads a team of 16 physicians. He is also responsible for caring for a unique group of patients – those with head and neck cancer.
The good news is that oropharyngeal cancer is curable. The bad news is that it’s becoming epidemic.”
Head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, and lymph nodes in the neck. Dr. Nedzi says he chose this specialty both for its challenges and the improvements that have been made (and continue be made) in cure rates as well as in post-treatment quality of life.
“Treating head and neck cancer is a delicate balancing act between killing tumor and sparing healthy tissue that is needed for proper functioning,” Dr. Nedzi says. “One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is seeing patients coming back and doing well – they can swallow, taste, and their mouth isn’t too dry. That’s when I know that therapeutic balance was achieved.”
Positive outcomes like these are the direct result of clinical trials that have yielded safer and more effective treatments for head and neck patients. Dr. Nedzi has designed numerous UT Southwestern clinical trials and actively participates in other national trials of the Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG). He currently serves as institutional investigator for the RTOG.