This guideline covers assessing and managing cancers of the upper aerodigestive tract in people aged 16 and over. These are cancers of the airways of the head and neck, including the mouth, throat, larynx (voicebox) and sinuses. It aims to reduce variation in practice and improve survival.
A table of NHS England interim treatment regimens gives possible alternative treatment options for use during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce infection risk. This may affect decisions for patients with cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract. See the COVID-19 rapid guideline: delivery of systemic anticancer treatments for more details.
In June 2018, we reviewed the evidence for treating advanced cancer and added recommendations on using FDG PET-CT scans to inform decisions about surgery after radical chemoradiotherapy.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- information and support
- treatment of early and advanced stage disease
- response assessment after chemoradiotherapy
- HPV-related disease
- less common upper aerodigestive tract cancers
- optimising rehabilitation and function
- follow-up and treatment of late effects
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals working in secondary and tertiary care
- People aged 16 and over with cancer of the upper aerodigestive tract, and their families and carers
Is this guideline up to date?
We checked this guideline in November 2020. We found no new evidence that affects the recommendations in this guideline.
Guideline development process
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.
All problems (adverse events) related to a medicine or medical device used for treatment or in a procedure should be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency using the Yellow Card Scheme.
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.