Treatment of head and neck cancer

NICE prioritises four areas of head and neck cancer care for improvement.

NICE is consulting on a new draft quality standard to improve treatment of head and neck cancer that could prevent 250 people a year undergoing major surgery which is of no benefit.

Currently when scans can’t detect if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in patients with early oral cavity cancer, the lymph nodes are surgically removed as a precaution.

The draft quality standard recommends those patients instead have a biopsy to remove the main lymph gland linked to the cancer to establish if it has spread and if further surgery is needed.

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