The Ipswich Head & Neck Cancer 

Support Group

The Journey Through Cancer Together...

We aim to support Patients, Family, Friends

and anyone who has been affected by
Head and Neck Cancer


About Us

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Head and Neck Cancer Support Socials offer:

* An informal and relaxed atmosphere
* The opportunity to meet other patients facing the same issues
* Direct access to patients who have already benefited from surgery and treatment
* Answers to your questions from people with recent experience of the issues you are facing

Who are we?

We are the Ipswich Head and Neck Cancer Support Group. 

This website is designed to help provide information for Cancer patients, their carers, family and friends. 

The groups committee has been formed from head and neck cancer patients and carers but has only been possible thanks to Amanda Ford, our Chairperson and healthcare professional who is also a Macmillan Radiotherapy Specialist.

What do we do?

We hold support group social meetings during the year.

Who Attends?

They are attended by patients at various stages of their treatment. 

Background of the setting up of Support Group

The Macmillan team in Ipswich identified the need to offer additional support to patients by using people who had successfully completed treatment. The treatment for this disease can be quite intrusive and lengthy, so having some people who had experienced this was felt useful for newly diagnosed and recovering patients. The doctors, consultants and specialist nurses are fantastic, but supplementing this with people who can talk about how you feel, the emotions you go through, the high and lows, the little tips…..even a bit of humour, can only really be from the people who have gone through the journey. .

What we are doing?

The support group is run under the careful guidance of the Multi Disciplined Team at Ipswich hospital. 

We have undergone a varity of training courses to ensure we are as effective as possible and supplement the professionals. 

There are strict guidelines we follow and we are affiliated to Macmillan, who in turn support and advise us. 

How are patients treated?

When people discover symptoms (normally a lump or sore throat) they most often go for x-rays, and scans, then a biopsy (removal of a small sample for testing) before receiving the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is cancer, the surgery to remove the tumour followed by radiotherapy and or chemotherapy is the most common path. Because all this happens in and around the throat and mouth, many normal functions are interrupted. Drinking, eating, talking are obvious challenges, often for many months, but the team at the hospital have developed all sorts of techniques and treatment to ease the journey. The Multi Discipline Team have all the bases covered, however, the size of the team and the huge variety of service on offer is, in itself, a daunting sight for new patients and their family.

Where the support group helps

Newly diagnosed patients have alot to deal with, firstly having to deal with the diagnoses of cancer and then facing the deluge of information being received from the medical team about the treatment. The patients and their family are often not able to understand all the options and advice they are given. Just taking in the news that they have cancer is as much as they can absorb, so all the talk of surgery, Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy, feeding tubes, dietary change etc sometimes just doesn’t sink in. The Support Group is probably at its most helpful during this time. Treatment is always tailored specifically for each patient, but between us we have experienced most of what’s available. Being available to explain, in layman’s terms, some of the things they have been told can be most helpful. We won’t attempt to advise, that’s the job of the medical team, but being able to reassure, explain how the treatment feels, show how successful it can be, is what patients tell us they value most.

Who it helps

We not only are on hand to help the patients, but recognise the impact on carers and family. 

Sometimes the strain is greater on the people around the patient and we are very happy to answer their questions too. 

 The treatment can go on for some time, and can be very debilitating, so the more people there are to offer a hand to the primary carer the better.

 Cancer affects the whole family, not just the patient.



The name of the group shall be



The group aims to support the people of Ipswich and East Suffolk,
filling a need that is not available elsewhere, and sees itself providing
the following services:

The opportunity for all members to support each other and anyone
else who is affected, directly or indirectly, by this disease. Group
members can offer a personal and complimentary view to that given
by the medical profession, and can share experiences on a variety of

The group plans to make available literature, information on the
disease and details of locally available resources. Many new sufferers
will be desperate for information that they can consider private but,
for example, may not have the opportunity to access the internet or
may be too embarrassed to ask for more information.

The group wishes to raise awareness of issues around Head and
Neck Cancer, both locally and nationally. We recognise the
problems associated with the counselling of potential sufferers but
progress has to be made in this area.

The Group recognises the very important role that self-support
has for cancer sufferers and, as a consequence, the social aspect
of this Group has a high priority and time is given to this aspect at
every meeting.

The group aims to raise finance to be able to carry out the above

To abide by the "Declaration of Good Practice".

As a Group:
We share clear aims and objectives.
We run the Group according to our members' needs, in a clear and
accountable manner.
We welcome everyone equally, and it is a priority to make the
Group open and accessible.
We aim to support and train our helpers and volunteers.
We make sure that everyone within the Group understands and
respects confidentiality.
We listen to each other and respond sensitivity.
We provide accurate, practical information, but do not give
advice or make recommendations.
We support each other through our losses, allowing time and
space to talk about fears and grief.
We work in co-operation with professionals, and we aim to
build a close and informal relationship with all hospital and
medical staff.
The Group is set up to achieve the above aims, but not
In furtherance of the aims the Group may do all such lawful
things as are necessary for the attainment of the aims.