In England and Wales about 8,000 people a year are affected by head and neck cancer. At present, most cancers are treated with surgery, radiotherapy or chemo-radiotherapy, either as individual treatments or in combination.
These cancers can present in ways that may not seem initially to be too serious, such as having a hoarse voice, ear ache, swallowing problems or a lump in the neck. Part of our work is to raise funds to research this disease but also to highlight these symptoms to the public and general practionnaires.
Over half of patients can expect to be cured, but treatment for Head and Neck Cancer can have significant affects on how patients look, speak, eat and drink.
This may not be the commonest cancer, but the fact that you’re less likely to get it than, say, breast or prostate cancer, makes it no less devastating. Given that four of your five senses are located in your head (taste, sight, hearing, smell), treatment can often result in a fundamental change to the way you live your life.
The brutal truth is that because there are relatively low occurrences of head and neck cancer, broad-spectrum charities such as Cancer Research UKdonate only a tiny percentage of their income to fund research into this area.
The less we know about head and neck cancer, the smaller the amount of clinical data available, and the less refined the treatment methods. Lack of knowledge has a direct impact on survival rates. It’s that’s simple.
Click here for information about common symptoms of head and neck cancers.