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Stirling nurse researcher examines the needs of laryngeal cancer patients

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by Cancer Research UK | News

31 July 2007

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A nurse researcher at the Cancer Care Research Centre, based at the University of Stirling is using a research fellowship of more than £90,000 from Cancer Research UK to provide support for people with head and neck cancers.

Mrs Anne Taylor is investigating the information and support needs of people with these cancers and their carers and, in particular, patients affected by cancer of the larynx.

The term ‘head and neck cancer’ is used to represent a number of different types of cancers that affect the tissues and organs in the head and neck region.

In Scotland approximately 3,500 men and 1,500 women were diagnosed with a form of head and neck cancer in the period 1997 to 2001. Also, approximately 1,000 people were diagnosed with head and neck cancer with one third of these being cancer of the larynx in Scotland between 1999-2003.

The majority of these cases were from deprived areas and in many cases individuals do not seek immediate medical advice, presenting with advanced tumours, making treatment more difficult.

There have been no significant improvements in survival rates and outcomes for head and neck cancer patients in Scotland, compared to other countries, which can partly be explained by deprivation and late presentation.

Little is known about the specific information and support needs of head and neck cancer patients and their carers or the reasons why people delay in seeking medical advice.

Research fellow, Mrs Anne Taylor, said: “There is a need to identify ways to improve survival and outcomes for head and neck cancer patients. The impact of treatment for head and neck cancer can have a profound effect on many aspects of the individual patients’ and carers’ lives and we need to gain an insight in how best to assist and support them.”

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