50% of the population will develop a cancer during their lifetime: the brutal reality is that many of our families and friends will be struck by this disease.

Because so many cancer treatments are still based on surgery, head and neck cancer stands out because the evidence of surgery is hard to hide and the results of treatment are very visible.
As well as this, the head and neck area is packed with vital structures, including those associated with the senses of sight, hearing, taste and smell, as well as with vital functions such as breathing, swallowing and speech.

The face is a person’s window into the world, as well as being the window through which we are viewed. The object of the Head & Neck Cancer Foundation is to minimise the impact of cancer surgery so that patients can still integrate easily into their community and maintain their quality of life. This can be done by adopting emerging technology to facilitate a ‘less is more’ approach to surgery: less visible surgery can mean more self-confidence, faster recovery and better quality of life.

Another growing aspect to our charity is promoting awareness of head and neck cancer. Although we are constantly striving to improve cancer diagnosis and treatment, prevention of head and neck cancer in all possible instances is key. As well as this, recognition in the early stages makes an individual’s chances of survival so much greater. Through raising awareness of the risks associated with certain cancer-related activities as well as promoting self-checking and recognition of abnormalities, we hope to raise awareness of head and neck cancer among dentists, doctors and the general public. See the video below for our guide to checking the mouth for cancer.


The HNCF is a small organisation compared to the cancer charity giants, but we believe that a tightly run, precisely focused charity can have a sharper impact in this critical area of care.

HNCF is run by people who really know what helps cancer sufferers and what technology is available. Professor Mark McGurk is a world-renowned surgeon at the forefront of his field with decades of experience in treating patients. His aim is to spread the benefits of his knowledge to all areas of the UK.

HNCF is run by a small board of trustees who communicate effectively with each other and make decisions fast when it counts, with no wastage of time or funds. HNCF doesn’t spend money on smart offices, lavish advertising or big mailouts and free gifts. We target fundraising carefully so that money can be spent where it is needed most: on patient treatment.

Lastly, none of HNCF’s trustees draws any salary or remuneration from their roles. Indeed, the reverse: they have contributed generously. Their goal is not personal financial benefit, but to make a difference to the future of head and neck cancer treatment.

A brush with cancer is perhaps something that will always, internally, leave a deep mark but, with your help, patients will no longer have to be openly scarred for life.

Meet the team