Below you’ll find answers to some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Head and Neck Cancers. If there are any questions that you feel we should answer that are not already covered here, please let us know by clicking here.

The details on these pages are for general information and advice only. For accurate and up-to-date information, be sure to ask your medical professionals.

Throat cancer is used to describe several different cancers which can affect the throat. Below is a list of the types of cancer which can be considered throat cancer. TYPES OF CANCER
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Oesophogeal Cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Paranasal Sinus Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Oral Cavity Cancer
  • Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Laryngeal Cancer
There are several risk factors which can cause throat cancer. The two biggest causes are tobacco and alcohol – these can be very damaging for the throat and cause the most cases of throat cancer in the world. Another cause is HPV – HPV is the Human Papillomavirus and it is thought to cause an increasing number of cases of throat cancer.
There are several symptoms to look out for:
  • sore throat/hoarse voice
  • lump in the neck
  • red/white patches in the throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • unusual weight loss
  • stiff/difficult to move jaw
  • unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • loose teeth
  • bad breath
  • ulcers in the mouth which do not heal


As you can see these are some quite common things and they can be caused by many things which are not cancer. If symptoms last for a long time (more than 3 weeks) and are not improving, you should make an appointment to see your GP and get checked out.

This varies from patient to patient and depends on the kind of cancer, it’s location and stage. It also depends on the resources available at the hospital.

Surgery, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy can all play a part in treatment. Some patients will require all three modes of treatment.

This varies from patient to patient and depends on the kind of cancer, it’s location and stage. It also depends on the resources available at the hospital.

Surgery, Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy can all play a part in treatment. Some patients will require all three modes of treatment.

HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is an infection which lives in the skin and is extremely contagious. 80% of people will have had an HPV infection by the time they reach middle age. For the majority of people, they will have little or no symptoms.

For some people HPV can develop into cancer: throat, anal, vaginal, cervical and vulval cancers can all be caused by HPV.

This means that vaccination to protect against HPV is given to all regardless of their gender. Now the HPV vaccination is only given to girls in the UK and leading cancer experts have advised that the programme should be expanded to include males.

We chose the name ‘The Swallows’ because many head and neck patients have problems with swallowing, during and following treatment.

We are the patient and carers Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. We reach out and offer fantastic support 24/7 and will signpost if that’s what you need. The Charity is run by patients, carers, family and friends, so everyone understands the problems when you are diagnosed with Head & Neck Cancer. The Swallows was formed by cancer patients to help and support fellow sufferers and their carers. In November 2012 we are proud to say we obtained full registered charity status and have gone from strength to strength.

Our patient and carers meeting are held every second Wednesday of the month, starting at 7pm. It is an opportunity to meet other like- minded people and share experiences. Here is what one patient said after a meeting.

“At a particularly low ebb and with no idea what I should do next I contacted Chris at Swallows who kindly came the same day to offer support and advice and then introduced me to the monthly meeting. Knowledge does make a difference. Knowing some of the things that are likely to happen, that other people have had similar experiences, listening to others telling you that it’s normal to lose your appetite, that you have to start thinking of food as medication, that there will be help with feeding, that there will be help with pain control, that you can talk to people who have experienced exactly what you are going through, and more importantly that they got through it, makes coping a little easier. It was also empowering, and I began to take more control, and asked more questions plus felt more prepared.
Thank you all at the Swallows

Patient, Shirley
  • Help each other and anyone else who is affected, directly or indirectly, by this type of cancer
  • One to one or group support
  • Be available in Clinics to help patients and carers
  • Advise on locating reliable literature, information and locally available resources
  • Signpost links to other groups in different areas and recommend trusted websites for people at home
  • Raise funds for items to help both patients and carers
  • 24/7 help line answered by patients and carers, offering a like-minded person to talk to

We are here for everyone affected by cancer, every step of the way. But we can’t do it without your help. Below are examples of just some of the ways our volunteers help and make a real difference to people affected by cancer.

Help at our fundraising events

  • Help with taking patients to hospital appointments
  • Attending & support at our monthly meetings
  • Buy one of our Charity Ribbons

‘Like’ Facebook Page

  • Donate direct to the charity
  • Donate raffle prizes
  • Donate unwanted office equipment

Here we offer tips & ideas patients have found to help them on their cancer journey. If you have any further suggestions, please send them to [email protected]

 Waiver:  whilst most tips will be helpful, remember everyone is different. These are other people’s tips and ideas which may or may not be right for you. You may want to SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR/CONSULTANT FOR CLARIFICATION before implementing anything

CLICK HERE for Latest Tips & Ideas