Leading Research into Head & Neck Cancer

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What is Head and Neck Cancer

If you have a persistent lump, sore throat or voice changes then always contact your GP - early diagnosis is vital.

Head and neck cancer is a broad term which covers a diverse number of tumour types located in some 30 different sites. These include:

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

Oesophageal cancer, thyroid cancer, brain tumours and eye cancer are not always classified as a head and neck cancer however, Oracle supports research into cancer in the thyroid gland.

Head and neck cancers are as complex as other cancers but also present some particular issues. The head and neck area has many critically important and delicate organs in close proximity; treating a tumour in one area will often have serious effects on other surrounding organs. Depending on the type of cancer and treatment given, side effects vary with the most common including difficulties with eating, drinking, speech, hearing and facial disfigurement. These side effects can have a huge impact on quality of life and as a result, between 29-42% of head and neck patients will suffer from depression, against only 8-24% of general cancer sufferers. (Source CRUK)

Curative treatment is possible in most early head and neck tumours with impressive cure rates of around 80-90% using surgery and/or radiotherapy. As with all cancers, early detection and diagnosis is vital, so it is advisable to visit your dentist or doctor at the first sign of persistent, unexplained signs or symptoms.

In this section

Every day in the UK, 40 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

Cases of Oral Cancer have increased by over 90% since the 1970s.

40% less research funding per patient than breast cancer.

Head and neck cancer is now the sixth most common cancer nationally and globally. (2014).

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Oracle Cancer Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142037). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (7125497). Registered address: 10 Parsons Green House, 27 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH.