Information For Head and Neck Cancer Patients

Head and neck cancer information

This section of our website brings together a range of information resources for people affected by head and neck cancer.

Overview

Head and neck cancer is a relatively uncommon type of cancer, around 10,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year.

There are more than 30 areas within the head and neck where cancer can develop, including the:

  • mouth and lips
  • voice box (larynx)
  • throat (pharynx)
  • salivary glands
  • nose and sinuses
  • area at the back of the nose and mouth (nasopharynx)

The Oral, Head and Neck Cancer leaflet provides more background information to oral and head and neck cancer, what to expect, the treatments available and who is involved in diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers. 

  There are three major risk factors for head and neck cancer in the UK: 

  Tobacco smoking

  Alcohol consumption

  Human papilloma virus (HPV) - read the Throat Cancer Foundation leaflet on HPV and Throat Cancer

​​​​​Support to quit smoking is available through NHS Stop Smoking Services, and local alcohol services can also provide support.

Head and Neck Specialist Support Team

Each hospital has a team of doctors, nurses, allied health professionals (dieticians, speech and language therapists), admin and managerial staff, all dedicated to looking after patients from diagnosis, through to treatment and long term after-care.

A Cancer Nurse Specialist (CNS) provides practical and emotional support for patients throughout their cancer journey from diagnosis onwards and is their key point of contact. 

Treatments

Treatment options include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and systemic (drug therapies that work throughout the whole of the body), or a combination of these treatments.

Specialist hospital services

Sometimes the specialist services a patient needs may be provided at another hospital in West Yorkshire and Harrogate. For example, all radiotherapy is provided at St James’ Hospital in Leeds. Surgery may take place at Bradford or Leeds and chemotherapy at your local hospital.

The following links provide further head and neck cancer information and support:

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