Shyam Rao, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor

To see if Shyam Rao is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).



Radiation Oncology


Radiation Oncology

Locations and Contact

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
4501 X St.
Sacramento, CA 95817

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Additional Numbers

Clinic Phone


Clinic Fax


Physician Referrals

800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)

Philosophy of Care

I strive to work with each individual patient to provide the highest-quality care while also advancing our current cancer treatments. I am committed to individualized patient care, state-of-the-art treatment strategies, teaching and research to provide the best possible patient care.

Clinical Interests

Dr. Rao is highly skilled in the use of Radiation Therapy. He has a special interest and significant  expertise in the treatment of Head & Neck cancers and Skin cancers.

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Rao's research has focused on improving the effectiveness of radiation therapy and reducing treatment-related side effects. He has been published numerous papers on improving the clinical efficacy of treatment and reducing sided effects of treatment for patients. He also remains active in basic science research to advance patient care.


Radiation Oncology

Center/Program Affiliation

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center

Undergraduate School

B.A., Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Berkeley, Berkeley CA 1994

Medical School

M.D., UC Irvine College of Medicine, Irvine CA 2005

Other School

Ph.D., Molecular & Cell Biology, UC Irvine, Irvine CA 2003


Internal Medicine, Dartmouth University, Lebanon NH 2005-2006


Radiation Oncology, Washington University, St. Louis MO 2006-2010

Educator of the Year, ARRO, 2015, 2021

Hope Center for Neurological Disorders Research Award, Washington University in St. Louis, 2009

Lloyd Guth Award for Excellence in Graduate Research, UC Irvine, 2003

UC Berkeley Outstanding Service Award, 1994

UC Regents Fellowship, 2000

Chen W, Li Y, Yuan N, Qi J, Dyer BA, Sensoy L, Benedict SH, Shang L, Rao S, Rong Y. Clinical Enhancement in AI-Based Post-processed Fast-Scan Low-Dose CBCT for Head and Neck Adaptive Radiotherapy. Front Artif Intell. 2021 Feb 11;3:614384. doi:10.3389/frai.2020.614384. PMID:33733226.

Dyer BA, Campos DD, Hernandez DD, Wright CL, Perks JR, Lucero SA, Bewley AF, Yamamoto T, Zhu X, Rao SS. Characterization and clinical validation of patient-specific three-dimensional printed tissue-equivalent bolus for radiotherapy of head and neck malignancies involving skin. Phys Med. 2020 Sep;77:138-145. doi:10.1016/j.ejmp.2020.08.010. Epub 2020 Aug 20. PMID:32829102.

Evangelista LM, Bayoumi A, Dyer BA, Shukla RP, Rao SD, Belafsky PC. The relationship between posterior pharyngeal wall thickness and swallowing function after radiation therapy. Acta Otolaryngol. 2020 Apr 27:1-4. doi:10.1080/00016489.2020.1752933. PMID:32340517.

Harris BN, Pipkorn P, Nguyen KNB, Jackson RS, Rao S, Moore MG, Farwell DG, Bewley AF. Association of Adjuvant Radiation Therapy With Survival in Patients With Advanced Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Feb 1;145(2):153-158. doi:10.1001/jamaoto.2018.3650. Erratum in: JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2019 Feb 1;145(2):196. PMID:30570645.

Dyer BA, Nair CK, Deardorff CE, Wright CL, Perks JR, Rao SS. Linear Accelerator-Based Radiotherapy Simulation Using On-Board Kilovoltage Cone-Beam Computed Tomography for 3-Dimensional Volumetric Planning and Rapid Treatment in the Palliative Setting. Technol Cancer Res Treat. 2019 Jan 1;18:1533033819865623. doi:10.1177/1533033819865623. PMID:31370760.

Cervenka BP, Rao S, Bewley AF. Head and Neck Cancer and the Elderly Patient. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2018 Aug;51(4):741-751. doi:10.1016/j.otc.2018.03.004. Epub 2018 May 23. PMID:29801920.

Zhao X, Rao S. Surveillance imaging following treatment of head and neck cancer. Semin Oncol. 2017 Oct;44(5):323-329. doi:10.1053/j.seminoncol.2018.01.010. Epub 2018 Feb 9. PMID:29580434.

Chen AM, Felix C, Wang PC, Hsu S, Basehart V, Garst J, Beron P, Wong D, Rosove MH, Rao S, Melanson H, Kim E, Palmer D, Qi L, Kelly K, Steinberg ML, Kupelian PA, Daly ME. Reduced-dose radiotherapy for human papillomavirus-associated squamous-cell carcinoma of the oropharynx: a single-arm, phase 2 study. Lancet Oncology. 2017 Jun 1;18(6):803-811. Epub 2017 Apr 20. doi:10.1016/S1470-2045(17)30246-2

Rao SD, Saleh ZH, Setton J, Tam M, McBride SM, Riaz N, Deasy JO, Lee NY. Dose-volume factors correlating with trismus following chemoradiation for head and neck cancer. Acta Oncol. 2016;55(1):99-104. doi:10.3109/0284186X.2015.1037864. Epub 2015 Apr 29. PMID:25920361.

Rao SS, Thompson C, Cheng J, Haimovitz-Friedman A, Powell SN, Fuks Z, Kolesnick RN. Axitinib sensitization of high Single Dose Radiotherapy. Radiother Oncol. 2014 Apr;111(1):88-93. doi:10.1016/j.radonc.2014.02.010. Epub 2014 Apr 29. PMID:24794795.