Head and neck cancer is incredibly complex and diverse. It includes more than 10 different cancers that can affect a person’s mouth, tongue, salivary glands, skin or voice box. Each type comes with its own causes, symptoms, characteristics, complexities and treatment options.
One of the most common causes of head and neck cancer is smoking and alcohol which affects areas like the mouth, throat and voice box. However, today in Australia, many head and neck cancers are due to other causes. For example, the human papilloma virus is the most common cause of tonsil cancer, which is rapidly increasing in incidence. Skin cancers on the face are mainly due to sun exposure and may extend to the eyes, ears, nose and salivary glands. For many other head and neck cancers, such as thyroid cancer, the cause is unknown.
The name 'Beyond Five' refers to the long-term support that patients with different types of head and neck cancer often need, which is more than five years after they are diagnosed.
Beyond Five's mission is to improve the quality of life of everyone affected by head and neck cancer through education and access to support and to raise awareness of head and neck cancer nationally.