July 27 is World Head and Neck Cancer day
“Head and neck carcinoma is now the sixth most common cancer worldwide, with over 500,000 cases and 200,000 head and neck cancer-related deaths globally each year,” says Mr Rajan Patel, MercyAscot Head and Neck Surgeon.
“In New Zealand, cases continue to increase with approximately 576 new cases in 2018. Head and neck cancer typically affects men more than women - particularly those aged 50 and over.”
The purpose of World Head and Neck Cancer day is to raise awareness of head and neck cancers amongst the public and health professionals, and help patients access the services they need at an earlier stage of disease.
“There are several risk factors for head and neck carcinoma including UV or sun exposure, smoking, heavy alcohol intake, and human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV exposure is increasing dramatically with a corresponding increase in the incidence of throat cancer - particularly over the last two decades,” says Mr Patel.
“Presenting symptoms and signs associated with head and neck cancer are common, and include a sore throat or a change in voice. However, a very small number of these patients would go on to have a sinister head and neck cancer diagnosis.”
Resources for GPs
The MercyAscot Head and Neck Service has pulled together a range of useful educational resources about head and neck cancer for GPs to use in their clinical setting, which can be found below.
These include webinars, e-learning modules and educational articles to help GPs identify red flag symptoms and know when to urgently refer patients to specialist care.
There is also information about MercyAscot's unique, one-stop diagnostic clinics and innovative, integrated Head and Neck Service. These services are delivered by a team of world-class surgeons who offer a premium, patient-centred, end-to-end service.
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