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Conceiving a national head and neck cancer screening programme

  • D S Gogarty (a1), A Shuman (a2), E M O'Sullivan (a3), P Sheahan (a4), J Kinsella (a5), C Timon (a5) and J P O'Neill (a6)...



This study was undertaken to determine the optimum approach to screening for head and neck cancer based on international experiences.


To determine whether or not head and neck cancer is suitable for screening, and, if so, what the ideal approach should be.


An electronic search of online databases up to and including May 2014 was conducted. Key search terms included ‘head and neck’, ‘cancer’, ‘screening’, ‘larynx’, ‘oropharynx’ and ‘oral’.


Subset analysis of high-risk cohorts showed statistically significant improvements in early detection of head and neck cancer via screening.


Current levels of public awareness regarding head and neck cancers are suboptimal, despite increased incidence and mortality. Scheduled and opportunistic screening, coupled with efforts to enhance education and health behaviour modification, are highly recommended for pre-defined, high-risk, targeted populations. This can enable early detection and therefore improve morbidity and mortality.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Darragh Gogarty, 20 The Grove, Skerries Rock, Skerries, Co. Dublin,Ireland E-mail:


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