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Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS FT open Head and Neck Cancer Centre

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS FT have launched a Head and Neck Cancer Centre, following the support of charitable donations. It aims to improve how head and neck cancer is diagnosed and treated.

The centre hopes to bring together a varied range of programmes to offer patients high quality care. The centre aims to increase the speed in which diagnoses for head and neck cancer patients are made.

Other objectives include improving the way patients are treated for their condition, by minimising side-effects, and maximising treatment effectiveness, as well as reducing rates of recurrence.

Some of the other benefits mean that patient education and support services to improve the quality of life for these patients, will be available.

The centre has been supported by Charles Wilson and Dr Rowena Olegario, from Wilson + Olegario Philanthropy. Mr Wilson was treated for neck cancer by a team from Guy's Cancer three years ago.

He said: "It's a privilege to be supporting the launch of the new Guy's Head and Neck Cancer Centre. The team at Guy's are amazing. The treatments they perform and the research they do is ground-breaking. The new centre will help transform the detection and treatment of head and neck cancers as well as improve the quality of life for patients – something which is urgently needed.

"In a year when the NHS did such a good job of looking after the nation, and where Guy's Cancer continued treating patients, it is a privilege to support the hospital at this time. I look forward to seeing the impact for both the local community, people across the UK and even around the world."

More than 650,000 people are diagnosed annually with head and neck cancer, making it the sixth most common cancer globally. Around 1,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with head and neck cancer every month.

There are more than 15 areas within the head and neck, where cancer can develop, including the mouth and lips, voice box, throat and nose. Although there have been advances in treatment, many of those diagnosed with head and neck cancer still lose their lives.

Those who have been treated with this type of cancer, can experience mental and physical side effects, such as eating, speaking and breathing problems, which are common. This means people will need specialised rehabilitation, support and care.

Wilson + Olegario Philanthropy have continuously funded head and neck cancer research for many years and plan to invest over £6m to support the development of the Guy's Head and Neck Cancer Centre.

Guy's and St Thomas' Charity are also hoping to raise a further £5m to fund the programme for head and neck cancer patients, and further enhance the care they receive.

Dr Teresa Guerrero Urbano, Consultant Clinical Oncologist, said: "Diagnosis with any cancer can be life-changing. But people with head and neck cancer face treatment that can impact some of the most fundamental aspects of their life – breathing, speaking and eating.

"It's a cancer which few people are aware of, and that receives less funding for research, but it's also a cancer where investment could make a significant difference. That's why we're urgently seeking philanthropic support. And every stride we make in head and neck cancers could have ripple effects for other cancers too."

For more information about the Guy's Head and Neck Cancer Centre, visit the Support Guy's and St Thomas' website.

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NHE May/June 2024

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