A Sheffield consultant has helped draw up a new guideline to prevent a postcode lottery of care for patients with oral cancer.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence said that there is ‘local variation’ in the care of people with cancers that affect the airways of the head and neck.
In the past decade, oral cancer incidence rates in the UK have increased by a third and the chance of a person dying has risen by around 10 per cent, Nice said.
The comments come as the health body issued new guidance to tackle the variation across the England and improve survival rates.
The new guidance includes recommendations of the best tests to diagnose cancers earlier and which treatments are most suitable at different stages.
Dr Martin Robinson, a consultant oncologist in Sheffield and chairman of the group that developed the guideline, said: “Diagnosing and treating the range of cancers that affect the airways of the head and neck can be complex.
“This new guideline is designed to help healthcare professional weigh up which investigations to use and what treatments to prescribe to ensure each patient gets the best care possible.
“It includes recommendations such as considering the use of a PET-CT scan to locate the primary source of cancer so that patients are spared from the discomfort of having multiple biopsies.
“It also sets out what the most appropriate options are depending on the type of cancer and when to opt for surgical management, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.
“With this new guideline we hope to improve survival rates for cancers affecting the airways of the head and neck, and ensure people across the country all receive consistently high-quality care.”