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The Royal Marsden School

Principles of Head and Neck Cancer Care



Delivery method


Length of module

Equivalent to 5 days (combination of classroom and on-line tuition)

Academic credits and level

15 credits at level 6 or 7

Entry requirements

Applicants should currently be caring for patients with cancer

Course summary

This module aims to provide an opportunity for nurses and allied health care professionals to develop their theoretical and practical skills in order to effectively provide care for patients with head and neck cancer.

Head and neck cancers are a group which includes cancers of the larynx, pharynx, oral and naso-pharyngeal cancers as well as thyroid cancers. This group of cancers often has a devastating effect on the lives of patients – the treatment can be disfiguring and everyday life affected as normal eating and drinking are no longer possible. This in itself has a major impact on the patient and their carers and also presents a significant challenge to healthcare professionals working in this area of cancer care. This module will enable students to develop and critically appraise their knowledge and skills to care for this patient group.

 It was really helpful to be able to interact with other professionals working in head and neck cancer care, talking directly to them, learning from their experiences and sharing mine. 

Student quote

Key topics

  • Diagnosing and staging head and neck cancers
  • Treatment options for head and neck cancers
  • Speech, swallowing and airway management
  • Nutritional issues
  • Palliative care and symptom control
  • Management of treatment related complications
  • Psychological and sociological challenges of disfigurement
  • Living with and beyond head and neck cancer

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the module at Level 6 you should be able to demonstrate achievement of the following learning outcomes:

  • Critically discuss the treatment modalities utilised in the Head and Neck Cancer setting
  • Critically explore the supportive care issues faced by head and neck cancer patients
  • Critically discuss the care of head and neck cancer patients with reference to current evidence and research
  • Apply specialist knowledge and skills to promote the health and well-being of the patient with head and neck cancer
  • Critically evaluate the role of the members of the multi-professional team working with head and neck cancer patients

On successful completion of the module at Level 7 you should be able to demonstrate achievement of the following learning outcomes:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge and critical understanding of the treatment modalities that are used in the management of head and neck cancers and develop appropriate strategies to manage the associated complex side-effects 
  • Critically evaluate strategies in managing symptoms and palliative care issues for head and neck cancer patients, initiating new approaches to care as appropriate
  • Critically appraise the complexities of the delivery of care for individuals with head and neck cancer drawing on current research, theory and policy to recommend innovative changes in practice
  • Critically appraise and synthesise the specialist knowledge and skills that are required to actively promote the health and well being of the patient with head and neck cancer
  • Critically analyse the impact of your role within the multi-professional team in managing complex head and neck cancer patients - identifying any areas for innovative service development


We are working to transition this module on-line. Dates will be added for new applications as they become available. Please check back regularly for updates.


Level 6: 2,000 word essay
Level 7: 3,000 word essay

Student support

Tutorials with the module leader or personal tutor are available if students require additional help with the planning and writing of their assignments. Email and telephone support are also available from the module leader/personal tutor. 

The Royal Marsden School uses an online environment called Moodle which students must access during their studies to support and enhance our courses. The site provides resources and communication tools. All students will be provided with a username and password to access module specific sections as well as general learning support such as study skills and library resources. Students also have access to the David Adams Library and Electronic Resource Centre. 

To get the best from the live video-conferencing sessions and enable you to participate fully you should have access to a computer or laptop with a camera and microphone. If you have any concerns or need help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Related pathways

This course is currently unavailable.