John A. (Drew) Ridge, MD, PhD, FACS

John 'Drew' Ridge, MD, PhD, FACS

Clinical Locations

Primary Location

Fox Chase Cancer Center
333 Cottman Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19111


Chief, Head and Neck Surgery

Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Surgical Oncology 

Louis Della Penna Family Chair in Head and Neck Oncology

TRDG Member, Head and Neck CancerThyroid and Endocrine Cancer

President, Medical Staff

Associate Director, Temple Head & Neck Institute

NCCN, Head & Neck Cancers Panel Member

NCCN, Thyroid Carcinoma Panel Member

Treatment Focus

Head and neck cancers (tumors of the mouth and jaws, tonsil, tongue base, voicebox and sinuses), organ preservations, ndocreine surgery (thyroid and parathyroid tumors); salivary gland tumors

Research Program

Key Awards

  • Philadelphia Magazine Top Doctors, 2005-2017
  • America’s Top Doctors® 2015-2017
  • Best Doctors in America® 2013-2015

Treatment Philosophy

I came to the department of surgical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1991, moving from San Francisco to join one of the country's first multispecialty head and neck cancer teams. Since then, I have dedicated my career to curing as many patients with head and neck cancer as possible, while providing all of them with the best quality of life.

I recognized years ago that many patients with head and neck cancer could be cured and enjoy a high quality of life if they were treated with radiation and sometimes with chemotherapy, instead of surgery. As a result, I have worked closely with other cancer specialists to care for many patients without radical surgery. The Fox Chase team is well-known and highly regarded because we work together to offer each patient the treatments that will help them best.

Head and neck cancer is uncommon, and modern treatment of head and neck cancer can be complex. Our experienced and talented team employs skills developed through years of working collaboratively to cure patients with these rare tumors. Together, we draw common threads to craft a plan for each patient... Expand

Follow on Twitter: @FCCCSurgOnc


Education, Training & Credentials

Educational Background

  • Fellowship, Surgical Oncology, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
  • Residency, General Surgery, University of Colorado, Denver, CO
  • MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, 1981
  • PhD, Biochemistry, Stanford University, 1978


  • American Board of Surgery


  • National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)
    • Head and Neck Cancers Panel
    • Thyroid Carcinoma Panel
  • American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Head and Neck Society
  • American Radium Society
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Society of Surgical Oncology

Honors & Awards

  • Philadelphia Magazine Top Doctors, 2005-2017
  • America’s Top Doctors® 2015-2017
  • Best Doctors in America® 2013-2015
  • President, American Radium Society, 2015
  • President, American Head and Neck Society, 2010
Patient Stories

Charlie Osborne

Head & Neck Cancer

Charlie Osborne

Head & Neck Cancer

Charlie Osborne quit smoking over 20 years ago because he noticed people getting annoyed with smokers — and was no longer allowed to smoke at work. He also knew it was a health hazard. By quitting the habit, Charlie thought his chances of developing cancer had been diminished. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

In early 2005, at the age of 52, Charlie experienced problems swallowing and had a blocked windpipe. He had trouble sleeping and began losing weight.

Kevin Logan

Head & Neck Cancer

Kevin Logan

Head & Neck Cancer

In May 2010, Kevin Logan and his wife of 11 years, Devra, were heading to his daughter, Lindsay's graduation from University of North Carolina of Wilmington. While there, Devra noticed a lump on Kevin's neck. She decided to keep it quiet for the weekend in order to enjoy the celebration. On the way home, Kevin who had also noticed the lump, showed it to Devra.

Lynn Schoepske

Head & Neck Cancer

Lynn Schoepske

Head & Neck Cancer

Lynn Schoepske has been brushing his teeth twice a day religiously for 80 years - well, maybe 79. He never smoked or chewed tobacco. That is why he was so surprised to learn he had cancer in his mandible, or lower gum.

Prior to his diagnosis, Lynn noticed several of his teeth were loose. He went from his dentist to a periodontist to an oral surgeon, who told him "your gums look angry."

Donald Ebaugh

Head & Neck Cancer;  Liver, Gall Bladder & Bile Duct Cancer

Donald Ebaugh

Head & Neck Cancer;  Liver, Gall Bladder & Bile Duct Cancer

When he retired in 1990 at the age of 57, Donald Ebaugh was likely one of the most active retirees in Delaware. After retiring from the State's Medical Laboratory Division in Dover as a medical lab technician, he devoted much of his time to caring for horses, both as a trainer and rider. In 2015, at the age of 82, he still spends time with his horses, but two bouts with cancer have caused him to slow down.

Karen Williams

Head & Neck Cancer

Karen Williams

Head & Neck Cancer

With the help of surgeons at Fox Chase Cancer Center, Karen Williams beat tongue cancer and is all smiles.

Karen Williams is thankful to have her voice, and with it she tells everyone who will listen: "If you notice any kind of change on your tongue or in your mouth… especially if you are a smoker… get it checked out as quickly as possible." Karen is adamant about her advice, because she is proof that addressing a problem quickly can result in a fabulous outcome.


Research Profile

Research Program

Research Interests

  • Nonsurgical management of head and neck cancer
  • Organ preservation
  • New techniques in head and neck surgery
  • Early and advanced thyroid tumors
  • Clinical trial design

Most of my research within the last 15 years has been undertaken at a national level, and has involved the design and execution of clinical trials. With the recent marshalling of Fox Chase Cancer Center patient care and scientific strengths to address head and neck cancer, I have formally joined the developmental therapeutics program at Fox Chase, where I provide an important clinical context for research, promote translational goals (with patients and physician colleagues), and link with clinicians in other fields.


Selected Publications

Murphy CT, Galloway TJ, Handorf EA, Egleston BL, Wang LS, Mehra R, Flieder DB, Ridge JA. The survival impact of increasing time to treatment initiation for patient with head and neck cancer in the United States. J Clin Oncol, in press. PubMed

Lango MN, Galloway TJ, Mehra R, Ebersole B, Liu JC, Moran K, Ridge JA. Impact of baseline patient-reported dysphagia on acute gastrostomy placement in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma undergoing definitive radiation. Head Neck. 2015 Aug 31. doi: 10.1002/hed.24220.  PubMed PMID: 26332292. PubMed

Beck TN, Kaczmar J, Handorf E, Nikonova A, Dubyk C, Peri S, Lango M, Ridge JA, Serebriiskii IG, Burtness B, Golemis EA, Mehra R. Phospho-T356RB1 predicts survival in HPV-negative squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck. Oncotarget. 2015 Aug 7;6(22):18863-74. PubMed PMID: 26265441. PubMed

Ridge JA. Why "head and neck cancer"? Surg Oncol Clin N Am. 2015 Jul;24(3):xv-xvi. doi: 10.1016/j.soc.2015.04.001. PubMed PMID: 25979405. PubMed

Ringash J, Bernstein LJ, Cella D, Logemann J, Movsas B, Murphy B, Trotti A, Wells N, Yueh B, Ridge J. Outcomes toolbox for head and neck cancer research. Head Neck. 2015 Mar;37(3):425-39. doi: 10.1002/hed.23561. Epub 2015 Jan 22. PubMed

Pfister DG, Spencer S, Brizel DM, Burtness B, Busse PM, Caudell JJ, Cmelak AJ, Colevas AD, Dunphy F, Eisele DW, Gilbert J, Gillison ML, Haddad RI, Haughey BH, Hicks WL Jr, Hitchcock YJ, Jimeno A, Kies MS, Lydiatt WM, Maghami E, Martins R, McCaffrey T, Mell LK, Mittal BB, Pinto HA, Ridge JA, Rodriguez CP, Samant S, Schuller DE, Shah JP, Weber RS, Wolf GT, Worden F, Yom SS, McMillian NR, Hughes M. Head and neck cancers, Version 2.2014. Clinical practice guidelines in oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2014 Oct;12(10):1454-87. PubMed PMID: 25313184. PubMed

Tejani MA, Galloway TJ, Lango M, Ridge JA, von Mehren M. Head and neck sarcomas: a comprehensive cancer center experience. Cancers (Basel). 2013 Jul 15;5(3):890-900. doi: 10.3390/cancers5030890. PubMed PMID: 24202325; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3795370. PubMed

Mehra R, Zhu F, Yang DH, Cai KQ, Weaver J, Singh MK, Nikonova AS, Golemis EA, Flieder DB, Cooper HS, Lango M, Ridge JA, Burtness B. Quantification of excision repair cross-complementing group 1 and survival in p16-negative squamous cell head and neck cancers. Clin Cancer Res. 2013 Dec 1;19(23):6633-43. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-13-0152. Epub 2013 Oct 2. PubMed PMID: 24088734; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4045641. PubMed

Lango M, Flieder D, Arrangoiz R, Veloski C, Yu JQ, Li T, Burtness B, Mehra R, Galloway T, Ridge JA. Extranodal extension of metastatic papillary thyroid carcinoma: correlation with biochemical endpoints, nodal persistence, and
systemic disease progression. Thyroid. 2013 Sep;23(9):1099-105. doi: 10.1089/thy.2013.0027. PubMed PMID: 23421588; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3770240. PubMed

Garg MK, Ridge JA, Yom SS, McDonald MW, Quon H, Smith RV, Yeung AR, Lawson J, Saba N, Salama JK, Beitler JJ. Reply, contralateral irradiation for T(limited)N2bM0 lateralized tonsil cancer. Head Neck. 2013 Mar;35(3):465-6. doi:
10.1002/hed.23212. Epub 2013 Feb 5. PubMed PMID: 23386559. PubMed

Additional Publications