Treatment

Your doctors will tell you about the benefits, risks and side-effects of the treatments being offered.

Each person is different and your surgery and/or treatment will be tailored to your needs and discussed fully with you before proceeding. Throughout your care, procedures, surgery and treatment will not be carried out without your consent.

There are a range of treatments used to treat head and neck cancers:

Treatment for each head and neck cancer is different and will depend on where the cancer is within the head and neck region.

For your treatment you may have to go to the Royal Victoria Hospital or the Cancer Centre in Belfast.  For further information on the treatment they offer please visit the Belfast Trust Cancer Services website 

Surgery

For many patients with head and neck cancer, surgery may be the most appropriate treatment.

All specialist head and neck cancer surgery for Northern Ireland is provided at the Royal Victoria Hospital.

Before your operation, your surgeon will discuss the surgery with you. It’s important that you understand what’s going to be removed and how this will affect you after the operation, both in the short- and long-term.

Some patients may also require chemotherapy to treat their head and neck cancer. Chemotherapy is usually given in combination with radiotherapy (chemoradiation) which is given in the Belfast Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

Radiotherapy for head and neck cancers is given in the Belfast Cancer Centre at Belfast City Hospital.

For more detailed information on the treatment of head and neck cancers, please visit the Macmillan Cancer Support website

After treatment

After treatment is completed, patients will have regular check-ups. These are very important for the surgeon or oncologist to monitor patient progress.

If your speech, swallowing or eating could be affected for a time after surgery, you may also meet other members of the team before your operation, such as a speech and language therapist or dietitian.

Patients experiencing worrying symptoms that they think may be related to their cancer should get in touch with their GP or consultant as soon as possible.