Head & Neck Cancer

Prof. Conrad Timon

Consultant ENT Surgeon

Consultant Image

Welcome to the ENT (Ear, Nose & Throat)/Maxillofacial service at St. James’s Hospital (SJH). We hope you find the information on our web page helpful.

St. James’s Hospital is a centre of excellence in the management of head and neck cancers. It accepts referrals from all 26 counties, including larger centres such as Cork and Galway. We are a dedicated team comprising doctors, nurses, speech and language therapists, dieticians, social workers and physiotherapists, who work to provide you with the support and specialist care you need when dealing with something as traumatic as a cancer diagnosis. Here are some statistics from our head and neck data manager, Mary Devlin:

  • From 2010 to 2012, the team diagnosed between 250 and 300 new cancers.
  • The latest report from the National Cancer Registry Ireland shows that the ratio of head and neck cancers in men to women was almost two men to each woman.
  • The average age of head and neck cancer patients who were treated in SJH between 2010 and 2012 was 60.

Our web page offers an overview of the types of head and neck cancers. About Us includes an insight into the journey through our service, from beginning to end. Each consultant’s clinic times are provided, as are contact details for secretaries, specialist nurses, speech and language therapists and dieticians. A list of support services available within the hospital and externally is also included.

What is Head & Neck Cancer?

Cancer can develop in any tissue or organ in your head and neck. As they grow, cancer cells can affect how the organ or tissue normally works. The areas where these cancers can develop are:

  • Mouth (oral) Cancer can occur in your lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, roof of your mouth (the hard palate) and the floor of your mouth (under your tongue).
  • Oropharyngeal Cancer can occur in the soft part of the roof of your mouth, the back and side walls of your throat and the base of your tongue.
  • Nose Cancer can occur in your nasopharynx (the area where your throat joins your nose), nostrils or the lining of your nose. Cancer can also develop in the bones around your face or in your sinuses.
  • Ear Cancer can occur in and around your ear but is very unusual.
  • Eye Cancer is very rare.
  • Salivary Gland Cancer is rare. Benign lumps in the salivary glands are common but need to be checked out. There are also small salivary glands in your mouth, which need to be cared for too.
  • Laryngeal (larynx) Cancer is not common.
  • Thyroid Cancer can occur as a lower midline neck swelling.