Thoracic Oncology Program »  Meet the Team »  Radiation Oncologists »  Sue S. Yom, M.D., Ph.D.

Sue S. Yom, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Department of Radiation Oncology & Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery

Contact Information

Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
1600 Divisadero Street, Box 1708
San Francisco, California 94143-1708
Phone: 415-353-7175
Fax: 415-353-9883
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  • 1987-91, Rice University, Houston, TX,  B.A.  French
  • 1993-02, University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D. English
  • 1995-02, University of Pennsylvania, M.D., Medicine
  • 2002-2003 M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Intern, Medicine/Surgery
  • 2003-2007 M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Resident, Radiation Oncology 
  • American Board of Radiology
  • Thoracic Oncology Program
  • Head and Neck Oncology Program
  • Visible Tumor and High-Risk Skin Cancer Program
  • Department of Radiation Oncology
  • Brachytherapy
  • Bronchioloalveolar Carcinoma (BAC)
  • Chemoradiation
  • CyberKnife irradiation for lung and skull base
  • Electron beam and orthovoltage irradiation
  • External-beam radiation therapy
  • Head & Neck Cancer
  • Hyperthemia
  • Intensity-modulated radiation therapy
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer
  • Small-Cell Lung Cancer
  • Advanced imaging and radiation planning
  • Head and neck and lung cancers
  • Image-guided and adaptive radiation therapy
  • Outcomes and quality of life
  • Radiation in combination with chemotherapy and targeted agents
  • Radiation sensitizers and protectors

Dr. Yom is a radiation oncologist who specializes in the treatment of head and neck and lung cancers. She received her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002 and completed her residency training at the prestigious M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. In 2007, she joined the UCSF faculty as an Assistant Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology.  

Dr. Yom is particularly interested in emerging radiotherapeutic and biologic techniques aimed at reducing the toxicities of treatment. In head and neck cancer, she has studied a variety of issues related to chemoradiation and combined modality treatments, technical aspects of radiation delivery, and radiation-related prognostic factors and post-treatment management. Specifically in lung cancer, she has been involved in efforts to quantify the risks of pneumonitis and esophagitis resulting from concurrent treatment with chemotherapy and radiation and helped to establish intensity-modulated radiation therapy in the treatment of locoregionally advanced lung cancers.

Evidencing her commitment to patient care and patient-oriented research, Dr. Yom has been the recipient of numerous awards including the ASTRO Fellowship from the Korean American Society for Therapeutic Radiology & Oncology, the Jesse H. Jones Fellowship in Cancer Education for excellence in cancer education at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, an award from the A. Lavoy Moore Endowment Fund for excellence in lung cancer research, and the Eleanor Montague Distinguished Resident Award in Radiation Oncology from the American Association of Women Radiologists. She has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and is a regularly invited speaker to fellow professionals in the field.

In lung cancer, Dr. Yom has conducted research quantifying the risks of pneumonitis and esophagitis when chemotherapy and radiation are given simultaneously. Her research findings were important in establishing the early use of intensity-modulated radiation therapy for lung cancer in combination with 4-dimensional CT-based planning. She has particular expertise in the delivery of chemoradiation therapy for advanced-stage lung cancer, and also the delivery of non-invasive stereotactic CyberKnife radiation for early-stage lung cancer. Her hope is that better understanding of radiation toxicities will permit higher treatment doses, increase the rate of cure and improve patient quality of life. She is strongly committed to research that will lead to more effective, less toxic, and more highly individualized therapy for patients.

Dr. Yom is an investigator on many research studies in head and neck and lung cancer at UCSF, including trials related to to image-guided radiation, head and neck patients' quality of life, and combinations of novel systemic agents with radiation therapy. She is especially interested in improved clinical and translational prognostic models in order to provide more effective and individualized therapy. It is hoped that the reduction of toxicities, both through technical and biologic means, will improve patients' quality of life and potentially enable physicians to deliver more intelligently targeted radiation and chemotherapy doses in search of a better chance of cure. She believes in multidisciplinary management and a unified, team-oriented approach to patient care

Most recent publications from a total of 69
  1. Pfister DG, Spencer S, Brizel DM, Burtness B, Busse PM, Caudell JJ, Cmelak AJ, Colevas AD, Dunphy F, Eisele DW, Foote RL, Gilbert J, Gillison ML, Haddad RI, Haughey BH, Hicks WL, Hitchcock YJ, Jimeno A, Kies MS, Lydiatt WM, Maghami E, McCaffrey T, Mell LK, Mittal BB, Pinto HA, Ridge JA, Rodriguez CP, Samant S, Shah JP, Weber RS, Wolf GT, Worden F, Yom SS, McMillian N, Hughes M. Head and Neck Cancers, Version 1.2015. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2015 Jul; 13(7):847-56. View in PubMed
  2. Yom SS. Radiation treatment of head and neck cancer. Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2015 Jul; 24(3):423-36. View in PubMed
  3. Raleigh DR, Algazi A, Arron ST, Neuhaus IM, Yom SS. Induction Hedgehog pathway inhibition followed by combined-modality radiotherapy for basal cell carcinoma. Br J Dermatol. 2015 Aug; 173(2):544-6. View in PubMed
  4. Heaton CM, Al-Shwaiheen F, Liu CS, Yom SS, Ryan WR. Prognostic significance of hyoid bone invasion in advanced base of tongue carcinoma treated by chemoradiation. Clin Otolaryngol. 2015 Jun; 40(3):260-5. View in PubMed
  5. Singer L, Yom SS. Consolidative radiation therapy for extensive-stage small cell lung cancer. Transl Lung Cancer Res. 2015 Jun; 4(3):211-4. View in PubMed
  6. Hemmat SM, Wang SJ, Uzelac A, Yom SS, Ryan WR. The Limitations of Routine Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Long-Term Post-Treatment Locoregional Surveillance of Salivary Carcinoma. ORL J Otorhinolaryngol Relat Spec. 2015 May 27; 77(3):132-140. View in PubMed
  7. Wong RK, Deshmukh S, Wyatt G, Sagar S, Singh AK, Sultanem K, Nguyen-Tân PF, Yom SS, Cardinale J, Yao M, Hodson I, Matthiesen CL, Suh J, Thakrar H, Pugh SL, Berk L. Acupuncture-Like Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation Versus Pilocarpine in Treating Radiation-Induced Xerostomia: Results of RTOG 0537 Phase 3 Study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2015 Jun 1; 92(2):220-7. View in PubMed
  8. Descovich M, McGuinness C, Kannarunimit D, Chen J, Pinnaduwage D, Pouliot J, Kased N, Gottschalk AR, Yom SS. Comparison between target margins derived from 4DCT scans and real-time tumor motion tracking: Insights from lung tumor patients treated with robotic radiosurgery. Med Phys. 2015 Mar; 42(3):1280. View in PubMed
  9. Axelrod RS, Sherman E, Garden A, Nguyen-Tan PF, Trotti A, Yom SS, Zhang Q. Reply to d. Adkins et Al. J Clin Oncol. 2015 Apr 1; 33(10):1224-5. View in PubMed
  10. Al-Shwaiheen FA, Wang SJ, Uzelac A, Yom SS, Ryan WR. The advantages and drawbacks of routine magnetic resonance imaging for long-term post-treatment locoregional surveillance of oral cavity squamous cell carcinoma. Am J Otolaryngol. 2015 May-Jun; 36(3):415-23. View in PubMed
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