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

Drew Ridge, MD, PhD, FACS

Treatment Focus

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

Research Program

Key Awards

Philadelphia Magazine Top Docs 2021

Language(s) Other than English


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.

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Follow on Twitter: @FCCCSurgOnc


Education and Training

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


  • American Association of Endocrine Surgeons
  • American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists
  • American College of Surgeons
  • American Head and Neck Society
  • American Thyroid Association
  • American Radium Society
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Society of Surgical Oncology

Honors & Awards

  • Philadelphia Magazine Top Doctors, 2005-20
  • Best Doctors in America® , 2013-15, 2019-2020, Surgical Oncology
  • America’s Top Doctors® 2015-17
  • President, American Radium Society, 2015
  • President, American Head and Neck Society, 2010
Patient Stories

Karen Williams

Head & Neck Cancer

Karen Williams

Head & Neck Cancer


I am thankful to have my voice, and with it I tell 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. I am adamant about my advice, because I am proof that addressing a problem quickly can result in a fabulous outcome.

Jerold Wilck

Head & Neck Cancer

Jerold Wilck

Head & Neck Cancer

"I recall thinking, 'This can’t be happening to me.' I was 59 years old and had no risk factors."

B. Mark Wilson

Head & Neck Cancer

B. Mark Wilson

Head & Neck Cancer

On May 6, 2014, B. Mark Wilson of Smyrna, Delaware, made a chance visit to Fox Chase Cancer Center. The 51-year-old came to accompany his father, George, for a follow-up visit. The elder Wilson had been treated for kidney cancer two years earlier. Mark, who had just been diagnosed with stage IV throat cancer, was just days away from his own surgery, and brought along his medical paperwork. “I was hoping for a second opinion,” he admitted. “Little did I know Fox Chase has a Rapid Access Program, which meant I could be seen immediately. And as a result, my treatment plan changed dramatically.”

Bob Devlin

Head & Neck Cancer;  Prostate Cancer

Bob Devlin

Head & Neck Cancer;  Prostate Cancer

When Bob Devlin was diagnosed with squamous cell cancer of the head and neck, he sought treatment at Fox Chase Cancer Center. After undergoing two surgeries and radiation therapy, Bob was later diagnosed with prostate cancer, and also received treatment at Fox Chase. After surviving both squamous cell cancer and prostate cancer, Bob and his wife decided it was important to give back, and to date they have raised more than $7,200 for Fox Chase cancer research. 

Patricia Cantwell

Head & Neck Cancer;  Sarcoma

Patricia Cantwell

Head & Neck Cancer;  Sarcoma

Patricia Cantwell was 33 years old when she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma of the jaw. Her oral surgeon referred her to Fox Chase Cancer Center, where she first underwent four cycles of chemotherapy to shrink the tumor and prepare her for surgery. However, the tumor increased in size after the first two treatments, leading Patricia's team to decide to go straight to surgery. Following surgery, Patricia needed physical therapy as well as a course of radiation to prevent a recurrence. Though she was now physically healthy, Patricia was not confident about how her face looked because it had an indentation. She decided to undergo reconstructive surgery, which transferred thigh skin and fatty tissue to Patricia's cheek to reconstruct her face, mouth, and lips. Today, she is cancer free and happy that she looks like her old self again. "I was very pleased with the results, and I looked like myself before the cancer," she said. "Thanks to the talents of my team, my self-esteem returned. I was able to eat anything and could speak with no problem. I was running around with no pain and felt great."


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 20 years has been undertaken at a national level, and has involved the design and execution of clinical trials. I am a member of of Fox Chase Cancer Center patient care and scientific strengths to address head and neck cancer, I have formally joined the molecular 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

Eze N, Lee JW, Yang DH, Zhu F, Neumeister V, Sandoval-Schaefer T, Mehra R, Ridge JA, Forastiere A, Chung CH, Burtness B. PTEN loss is associated with resistance to cetuximab in patients with head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Oral oncology, 91:69-78, 2019. PubMed

Fakhry C, Zhang Q, Gillison ML, Nguyen-Tan PF, Rosenthal DI, Weber RS, Lambert L, Trotti AM, 3rd, Barrett WL, Thorstad WL, Yom SS, Wong SJ, Ridge JA, Rao SSD, Spencer S, Fortin A, Raben D, Harris J, Le QT. Validation of NRG oncology/RTOG-0129 risk groups for HPV-positive and HPV-negative oropharyngeal squamous cell cancer: Implications for risk-based therapeutic intensity trials. Cancer, 2019. PubMed

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




Our Patient Satisfaction Rating is an average of all responses to care provider related questions from our nationally-recognized Press Ganey Patient Satisfaction Survey. Learn more.


4.7 / 5.0


  • 4.8
  • 4.8
  • 4.7
  • 4.7
  • 4.8


  • 5.0
    April 20, 2022
    Appreciate Dr. Ridge and his care.
  • 5.0
    April 18, 2022
    Good luck to Dr. John Ridge on his retirement.
  • 5.0
    February 22, 2022
    Dr. Ridge is a great doctor [...]
  • 5.0
    January 20, 2022
    I always get excellent care at [...] & Dr. Ridge.
  • 5.0
    January 16, 2022
    Dr. Ridge discharged me at this visit, but my Fox Chase experience has always been positive.
  • 5.0
    November 23, 2021
    Dr. Ridge and his staff are excellent with patients.
  • 5.0
    October 22, 2021
    The BEST concern by doctor & staff. Do not have to return. If a problem I can call!
  • 3.5
    August 05, 2021
    Dr. Ridge is a great, honest doctor but I felt he cut my time with him short.
  • 5.0
    July 31, 2021
    All experience good

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