Head and Neck Cancer Support Services

You do not have to have a problem with alcohol to suffer some of the damage to your health that alcohol can cause. People who drink socially but may be drinking a little too much can find themselves with unexpected conditions.

The Head & Neck Cancer service is delivered by a Specialist Nurse with expertise in the field of alcohol use and misuse. Alcohol is known to play a role in the development of head and neck cancers and our aim is to make sure that people are fully informed with the information they need to make their own lifestyle decisions.

What can patients expect?

You can expect to be asked some key questions about alcohol, or alternatively you may be asked to fill in a simple screening form. We will use this information to tailor what we do next to your exact needs. This may vary from a brief conversation about alcohol to specific psychological therapies or on rare occasions the prescribing of specialist medication.

Why is this important?

We want to make sure we give all our patients the level of advice and input that is appropriate to their own personal circumstances. This is particularly important because of the known links between head and neck cancers and alcohol and the impact that drinking can have on the effectiveness of some treatments.

What can the service provide?

  • Following our initial screening of all new patients regarding alcohol, one or more of the following may be offered:
  • Brief Intervention advice on alcohol.
  • Advice and support on stopping or cutting down.
  • Psychological therapy approaches that are proven to be effective in changing drinking habits
  • Pharmacological detoxification
  • Relapse Prevention planning, advice and medication.

What about smoking?

Smoking tobacco is also recognised to be a significant risk factor in the development of head and neck cancers. If you both smoke and drink harmfully this is particularly hazardous.

Attending a Stop Smoking Service is the most effective way to quit. You can refer yourself to this service simply by phoning 0800 169 4219. Alternatively, you can talk to your GP about medication to help you stop.