Meet Dr. Nhat-Long Pham Head and Neck Cancer Specialist in Dallas

Nhat-Long Pham, M.D., Ph.D., combines compassionate cancer care and groundbreaking research to ensure advanced medical treatment for patients with all stages of head and neck cancer. Using some of the most advanced diagnostic and treatment tools in the country, his goal is to help patients at UT Southwestern fully understand and evaluate their treatment options to provide the best results possible.

“One of the great benefits we offer cancer patients at UT Southwestern is our specialization by disease site,” Dr. Pham says. “Head and neck patients see an entire team devoted to that one type of cancer. We can offer a lot of depth and understanding, and a very detail-oriented treatment approach. This is particularly important for head and neck cancer, which often requires complex treatment planning with all the delicate and critical structures located in a small area.”

Dr. Pham’s story is rooted in the dreams of those refugees who came to America looking first for safety, then success, and finally a way to give back and serve their communities.

“My family is from Vietnam, we’re one of those boat people you may have heard about,” Dr. Pham says. “I was 14 years old when my father was released from a concentration camp and my parents decided to leave everything behind. We came here empty-handed.”

His family settled in Virginia and started over from scratch. He enrolled in high school and went on to graduate with distinction from the University of Virginia, where he earned degrees in biochemistry and biology.

He considered applying to medical school, and even served as volunteer in the surgical intensive care unit at the VA hospital during his senior year, but ultimately he decided to pay off student loans by working in the biotech industry in California. There, working at a start-up biotech company and as a laboratory project manager at the Scripps Research Institute, he began to develop an interest in immunology. Eventually, he realized he wanted to see patients.

“I wanted to see the connection between what I was doing in research and how it affects people,” Dr. Pham says.

He was accepted to the medical scientist training program at the University of Iowa, where in addition to earning his medical degree he earned a Ph.D. in immunology. He received further advanced training in radiation oncology with a residency at the University of California, San Diego.