The Royal Marsden

A fresh approach to referrals

A new referral pathway developed by Royal Marsden researchers aims to speed up diagnosis and reduce anxiety for patients with suspected head and neck cancer. 
Trial Manager Amy O'Reilly, a young white woman with long brown hair

Trial Manager Amy O'Reilly

In pathways for some suspected cancers, such as prostate and lung, patients may have a scan before being seen in the clinic. But, due to the various types of cancer seen in the head and neck region, there’s no single test or procedure that is suitable to assess everyone referred.

The EVEREST-HN trial will investigate whether assessing each patient’s risk before they are seen by a specialist will improve outcomes. 

Trial Manager Amy O’Reilly said: “We’ll ask patients across 52 centres to complete an electronic questionnaire about their symptoms before being seen by a specialist, who will review this information to determine how they should be managed based on their individual risk.

“This could mean that high-risk patients have targeted investigations arranged before being seen in the clinic to ensure that treatment starts urgently if they have cancer. It could also mean lower-risk patients are reassured sooner that it’s unlikely they have cancer, while avoiding unnecessary tests and appointments.”

EVEREST-HN is supported by the International Centre for Recurrent Head and Neck Cancer (IReC), thanks to funding from The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR).