Meet Dr. Arshad Kaleem, Head and Neck Oncologic Surgeon

Apr 29, 2024 | admin

For Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month, we are recognizing several of our Diplomates who are specialists in Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgery. Below, get to know Board-Certified Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Arshad Kaleem DMD, MD, FACS.

How did you become passionate about head and neck oncologic surgery?

I was fascinated with the anatomy of the head and neck region and surgical skills needed to perform head and neck surgery. It became a passion seeing the benefits and impact of surgery in the lives of patients with head and neck cancer. 

What percentage of your practice today is oncologic?

About 70% of my practice is in Oncology.

“Novel immunotherapy treatments are now being developed to target the body's immune response to fight cancer…I foresee that the treatment of head and neck cancer will change in the future with the incorporation of these treatments.”

What makes your work rewarding?

Bringing a change in someone's life for their betterment is the most rewarding thing. You can do this through any means. I happened to be a surgeon and by performing surgery I am able to make a difference in my patients' lives. That makes it very rewarding 

How has this line of work affected you personally?

It has made me more empathetic and grateful seeing the challenges of the Head and Neck patients both before and after treatment. They have problems with eating, drinking and speaking. They also have social issues such as self image and  self confidence. Knowing their problems has made me more understanding of their expectations and needs and increased my empathy. 

What advancements in the field have you witnessed in your career, and what do you foresee in the future?

We have made progress in personalized and precision medicine in the treatment of skin melanoma and cancers of the breast, prostate and lung. Novel immunotherapy treatments are now being developed to target the body's immune response to fight cancer. In head and neck cancers, there is now an increased focus on developing these strategies further. I foresee that the treatment of head and neck cancer will change in the future with the incorporation of these treatments along with traditional treatment of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. 

Do you have any advice for patients, or aspiring oral surgeons, based on your experience?

Keep going and never stop believing in yourself. 

About Arshad Kaleem DMD, MD, FACS: Dr. Kaleem obtained his dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He then received his MD degree and completed his General Surgery internship and residency in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the Louisiana State University – New Orleans. He then completed his fellowship training in Head and Neck Oncology and Microvascular Reconstructive Survey at the Providence Cancer Center/Legacy Emanuel Hospital in Portland, Oregon, and the University of Miami.

Before joining High Desert Oral & Facial Surgery in El Paso, TX, Dr. Kaleem served as Associate Professor of Surgery and Program Director of the Head and Neck Oncology Fellowship at the Miller School of Medicine, in the Department of Surgery, Division of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University of Miami. At the University of Miami, he was active in the training of residents and fellows and that is something he looks forward to continuing to do in El Paso. His commitment to education was recognized by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and he was awarded the Faculty Educator Development Award.

Dr. Kaleem’s interests are in the treatment and management of head and neck cancer and reconstructive surgery, correction of dentofacial deformities, facial reconstruction, microneural surgery, maxillofacial trauma, surgical management of obstructive sleep apnea and dental/oral rehabilitation of cancer and trauma patients.

Dr. Kaleem is a Diplomate of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery and Fellow of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. He is also a Fellow of the American Head and Neck Society. He has published several papers and book chapters. Dr. Kaleem regularly lectures on various topics in oral and maxillofacial surgery.

April is Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Month. In recognition of this important time for raising awareness about these cancers, we are sharing interviews with several of our surgeons. Find others on our blog »