This guideline covers assessing and managing cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract in young people (aged 16 and over) and adults. It aims to reduce variation in practice and improve survival.


Who is it for?

  • People aged 16 and over with cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract, and their families and carers
  • Healthcare professionals working in secondary and tertiary care

Is this guideline up to date?

We checked this guideline in July 2017. A partial update of the guideline will be planned. The update will focus on management of locally advanced (N2/N3) nodal metastases in patients with squamous cell head and neck cancer.

Guideline development process

How we develop NICE guidelines

This version of the guideline contains the recommendations, context and recommendations for research. The Guideline Committee’s discussion and the evidence reviews are in the full guideline.

Other information about how the guideline was developed is on the project page. This includes the scope, and details of the Committee and any declarations of interest.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals and practitioners are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or the people using their service. It is not mandatory to apply the recommendations, and the guideline does not override the responsibility to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual, in consultation with them and their families and carers or guardian.

Local commissioners and providers of healthcare have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual professionals and people using services wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with complying with those duties.

Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)