Nivolumab (Opdivo) is available through the Cancer Drugs Fund as a possible treatment for squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck in adults whose disease has progressed within 6 months of having platinum-based chemotherapy.
Nivolumab must be stopped after being taken without a break for 2 years, or earlier if the disease progresses.
More evidence on nivolumab is being collected, until September 2019. After this NICE will decide whether or not to recommend nivolumab for use on the NHS and update the guidance. It will be available through the Cancer Drugs Fund until then.
If you are not eligible for nivolumab but are already taking it, you should be able to continue until you and your doctor decide when best to stop.
Is this treatment right for me?
Your healthcare professionals should give you clear information, talk with you about your options and listen carefully to your views and concerns. Your family can be involved too, if you wish. Read more about making decisions about your care.
Questions to think about
- How well does it work compared with other treatments?
- What are the risks or side effects? How likely are they?
- How will the treatment affect my day-to-day life?
- What happens if the treatment does not work?
- What happens if I do not want to have treatment? Are there other treatments available?
Information and support
These organisations can give you advice and support:
- Cancer Research UK Patient Information, 0808 800 4040
- Macmillan Cancer Support, 0808 808 0000
- Mouth Cancer Foundation, 01924 950 950
- The Swallows Head and Neck Cancer Support Group, 01253 428
You can also get support from your local Healthwatch.
NICE is not responsible for the quality or accuracy of any information or advice provided by these organisations.
This page was last updated: 22 November 2017