There are several options available to make up a Treatment pathway. At present these include Surgery, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy and Immunotherapy. The options may be used in isolation or in combination depending upon the diagnosis. The size of the tumour, the level of aggressiveness and the location of the tumour together with the patients wishes will influence the decision.

Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy and Immunotherapy may have side effects which your specialist will discuss with you.


Surgery is used to remove the tumour in some cases. Where full removal may damage an organ or other part of the body, the tumour may be partially removed, which may help other treatments to work better.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. It can be administered in different ways depending on the type of drugs being used and the type of cancer being treated. Different drugs affect cancer cells in different ways. Cancer cells eventually die but normal cells can repair themselves.


Radiotherapy uses high-energy rays to treat disease. It can be given both internally and externally. Internal radiotherapy uses radioactive material inside the body. This is rarely used in Head and Neck in the United Kingdom. External radiotherapy shoots high energy rays at the affected area. It destroys cancer cells in the area being treated. Unlike normal cells, cancer cells are unable to repair themselves after radiotherapy.


Immunotherapy is given intravenously. It uses the body's defence system by helping the immune system to recognise and destroy the cancer cells.