Randall Hughes, M.D.
Many people diagnosed with cancers of the head and neck are overwhelmed and afraid of what the future might hold.
UT Southwestern Medical Center head and neck cancer specialist Randall Hughes, M.D., strives to get to know patients, explain their treatment options, and calm their fears.
A medical oncologist, Dr. Hughes is a cancer expert who specializes in using chemotherapy to treat the disease. He treats cancers of the lips, tongue, tonsils, palate, pharynx, larynx, sinus cavity, salivary glands, and lymph nodes, as well as lung cancer.
“Every patient has a story, a life, and a family – and whether or not they express it, they are often scared, for themselves and for their family,” he says.
“I think it’s important to spend the time with people, help them get comfortable with me, and explain what they should expect in terms of chemotherapy and how we will follow them after treatment. I also reassure them that we’ll make any treatment changes they desire and manage any side effects they might have.”
In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Hughes teaches medical students and fellows about the head and neck cancer specialty, training them to use current, evidence-based methods to treat the disease.
“Patient care and teaching are my main focuses, and it’s a privilege to do both,” he says. “Spending time with people is very important, especially in the doctor-patient relationship, where patients are trusting me with their best interests.”
Dr. Hughes is part of a specialized multidisciplinary team that includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, and other medical oncologists who primarily or exclusively care for patients with head and neck cancers.
The head and neck cancer team works closely with UT Southwestern’s ear, nose, and throat specialists, which include surgeons, as well as speech pathologists and therapy specialists who are critical in evaluating speech and swallow function before and after treatment.
Dr. Hughes believes that patients can only benefit from this specialized, comprehensive approach to care.
“By focusing on head and neck cancers, we specialists have become highly proficient at treating them,” he says. “We’re familiar with the best approaches and the most appropriate treatments for the stage of a tumor, and we have exceptional subspecialty support when we need it.”