Treatment for head and neck cancer

There are many different types of treatment for head and neck cancer. Your treatment will depend on you and your cancer.

Treatment for cancers of the head and neck will depend on your type and stage of cancer, as well as your medical history and personal preferences for treatment.1

  • Surgery – is the most common treatment for head and neck cancers of all stages. In some cases reconstructive surgery (plastic surgery) may be required to help rebuild cancerous tissue and bone that was removed. 1
    • Some surgeries that impact on the ability to chew and swallow may result in the need of a gastrotomy tube (a tube that inserted into your stomach for feeding to ensure you receive optimal nutrition post-surgery).1
  • Radiation therapy – may be used instead of or after surgery to cure the cancer or to help prevent the cancer from returning. Radiotherapy can help manage symptoms, such as pain or bleeding, in more advanced cases. 1
  • Chemotherapy – can be used alongside radiotherapy to help enhance treatment, or help to control symptoms when a cancer has spread.1
  • Targeted and Immune therapies – use drugs or antibodies aimed at targeting specific weaknesses in the tumour or stimulating the immune system to destroy cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells unharmed.1

Helpful Links


For a full list of references, click here.
  1. Australian Government: Cancer Australia. (2017). Head and neck cancer: treatment options. Retrieved on 27th April 2019 from

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