Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana
Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana
Istituto Oncologico della Svizzera Italiana

Head and neck tumours Back


Cancers of the head and neck can develop in specific areas of the: mouth, throat, nose, sinuses, larynx (vocal cords), pharynx and salivary glands. They account for about 10-12% of all malignant tumours in men and 4-5% in women.

The Head and Neck Tumours Unit at IOSI is dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with tumours of these areas, which represents a heterogeneous group of neoplasms from the anatomical, etiopathogenetic, histological and prognostic point of view.
These tumours affect men more frequently than women (6 to 1) in the age group 50-70 years. In 75% of head and neck neoplasms the main causes smoking and alcohol.
Papilloma-virus (HPV) infection is often the cause of oropharyngeal cancers (especially those of the tonsils) even when common risk factors do not coexist.
There may be multiple treatment options in these patients, used either exclusively or in combination. The most common are: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, biologically targeted therapies, and immunotherapy.
The therapeutic approach is discussed collaboratively by specialised medical figures (radiation oncologists, ENT specialists, nuclear medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists) in dedicated three-weekly meetings (tumour boards), and proposed to the patient in consultation visits where, in most cases, at least two specialised medical figures (radiation oncologist and medical oncologist) are present.
Given the complexity of the patient's management, the Unit can avail itself of access to specialist areas both within and outside the EOC, such as: endoscopies and surgeries for the installation of enteral nutrition instruments, dietary services, psychological support and rehabilitation assistance.
The Unit actively participates in clinical research with international multicentric trials (EORTC,SAKK, and others).
- EOC Radiology
- EOC Otolaryngologists
- EOC Pathologists