- What is head and neck cancer?  
- How does cancer arise?
- What causes head and neck cancer?  
- Can cancer of the head and neck be cured?  
- Symptoms of head and neck cancer  
- Referral to a specialist
- Diagnosis of head and neck cancer  
- Stage and grade of cancer  
- Treatment for head and neck cancer  
- Follow-up after treatment  
- Clinical trials


Radiotherapy treats cancer by targeting high-energy X-rays to the cancer cells to destroy them, while doing as little harm as possible to normal cells. Radiotherapy is similar to having a normal X-ray and you will not feel the rays.

Radiotherapy does not make you radioactive and it is perfectly safe for you to be with other people, including children, throughout your treatment.

Treatment lasts from 3 to 7 weeks, depending on the type and size of the cancer. It is usually given as a series of short, daily treatments, from Monday to Friday, with a rest at the weekend. Each treatment lasts only a few minutes. It is important to follow the scheduled treatment plan and to avoid unnecessary gaps in your course of treatment.

Radiotherapy is a very precise treatment and it is important that you are able to lie still during treatment, in exactly the same position each time. A specially made mask of clear plastic that fits over your head and/or shoulders is used to help keep your head still, and in the right position.

Radiotherapy may also be given after surgery, to kill any cancer cells that may have been missed, particularly in the lymph glands in the neck.