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Head & Neck cancer

Head and neck cancer is classed as any tumour that affects the areas including forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, sinuses and any glands or lymph nodes that are also found in this region. Brain cancer, although situated in this region of the body is treated differently, as it affects a vital organ that is part of the central nervous system. Further information on brain cancer treatment can be found on our brain cancer page.

Rutherford Treatment Options

  • Proton Beam Therapy Available
  • Radiotherapy Available
  • Chemotherapy Available
  • Immunotherapy Available


Early and late symptoms can vary depending on the site of the tumour and its size. Some common symptoms may include:

Oral cancer

  • Mouth ulcer or sore that does not heal
  • A lump inside the mouth
  • Pain in the mouth, jaw, ear or surrounding regions

Nasal and paranasal sinus cancer

  • Persistent nasal congestion and stuffiness in the nose or sinuses
  • Frequent nose bleeds or unusual discharge from nose
  • Pain or numbness in the nose, above or below eyes, or face

Throat cancer

  • Dysphagia - difficulty in swallowing
  • Changes in voice, hoarseness
  • Weight loss

If you’d like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer
please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Head & Neck cancer diagnosis

A diagnosis can be made through various scans and tests. The doctor may carry out physical examination to feel for any lumps in the suspected region, which may be accompanied by the use of a mirror and torch.

Ways head & neck cancer can be diagnosed:

  • CT scans
  • MRI scans
  • PET scan
  • Biopsy

A combination of scans, tests and biopsies can confirm details of the size, location and spread of the cancer.

MRI Diagnosis

Treating head & neck cancer with proton beam therapy

The head and neck region contains many important organs located closely to each other. When considering treatment options, it is essential to consider the impact on neighbouring organs. To determine suitable treatment, a consultant would need information on where the tumour began and how far it has spread. Tumours in the head and neck region are in close proximity to many organs. Proton beam therapy has the ability to stop radiating beyond a tumour site, making it possible to treat the cancerous area whilst reducing the radiation dose delivered to normal healthy tissue surrounding it.

The benefits of using proton beam therapy treatment for head & neck cancer

These are the main benefits of treating head and neck cancer with proton beam therapy:

  • Associated side effects are reduced, allowing for quicker recovery
  • Possible reduction of the experience of long-term dry mouth and swallowing function dysfunction
  • Targeting the treatment area and avoiding vital organs and sensitive areas in the head and neck area that don't need radiation - such as the eyes, brain etc.

An overview of how proton beam therapy works

Proton beam therapy is highly accurate in targeting a treatment area. It can be used to treat hard-to-reach tumours, while lowering radiation exposure to surrounding healthy tissue and vital organs.

Watch the video

Other treatment options for head & neck cancer

There are other treatment options that can be used to treat head & neck cancer, either before, after or alongside proton beam therapy. Please see other treatment options available at the Rutherford Cancer Centres below:







Further information & support

Being diagnosed with head and neck cancer and deciding on the best treatment can be daunting, for full details on head and neck treatment options or to discuss a diagnosis, please contact our enquiries team. Our enquiries team will endeavour to help you assess your treatment options and advise which consultants could be best placed to plan your treatment pathway.

Macmillan Cancer Support offers a wide range of information and support, as well as help with your practical, emotional, and financial needs. All telephone helplines are free and confidential, and interpreting services are also available.

Freephone: 0808 808 00 00

(Monday to Friday, 9.00am – 8.00pm)

Website: www.macmillan.org.uk

Get in Touch

If you'd like to speak to us about any of the treatments we offer please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Call us on 0800 210 0402 or

Our Trusted Healthcare Partners