Examination and Referrals


The examination of the patient needs to include the neck, the face, the mouth and the throat. A bright light / torch is essential. Common signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer are outlined in the 'what to refer' section.

What to refer

It can be very difficult sometimes to know what to refer and what not to refer. We have urgent consultant slots each week in outpatient clinic and the Unit is very good at meeting the 2 week urgent suspected cancer target.

Click here to examine the detailed documents from NICE relating to the referral of patients with suspected cancer.

Patients should be referred with

  • Hoareseness > 6weeks
  • Unresolving neck mass > 3 weeks
  • Dysphagia > 3 weeks
  • Cranial neuropathies
  • Unilateral Nasal obstruction (esp. if blood stained or purulent discharge)
  • Ulceration of oral mucosa > 3 weeks
  • Oral swellings > 3 weeks
  • All red or red and white patches of the oral mucosa
  • Unexplained tooth mobility (Not associated with periodontal disease)
  • Orbital masses