Clinical update

Head and neck cancers

Head and neck cancers include those that affect the mouth and throat, as well as rarer cancers of the nose, sinuses, salivary glands and middle ear.

Essential facts

Head and neck cancers include those that affect the mouth and throat, as well as rarer cancers of the nose, sinuses, salivary glands and middle ear. There are 13,000 new cases each year, according to the NHS.

Picture credit: SPL

Macmillan Cancer Support has called for action to reduce the variation in survival rates for people with head and neck cancers. The survival rate at four years varies from 60% for those with cancer of the voice box to only 33% for those with cancer of the hypopharynx, according to the Health and Social Care Information Centre’s national head and neck cancer audit, published in September.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence says a referral for suspected oral cancer should be considered for a patient with unexplained ulceration in the oral cavity lasting for more than three

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