25th Mar 2024


Cancer seems to be much in the news at the moment – following recent sad announcements from the Royal Family – and it is pleasing to report that an improved treatment I helped pioneer is gaining traction across Europe.

 I have just returned from a major conference in Europe where I gave a keynote address on the new technique that has been hailed as the new gold standard for the treatment of patients with head and neck cancer.

The new treatment takes Intensity-Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), a precision form of radiotherapy, a step further.

Working with colleagues at The Royal Marsden and The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), we developed an even more targeted form of IMRT that is having a significant impact in reducing one of the most common side-effects of radiotherapy, difficulty in swallowing or dysphagia.

I was invited to give a keynote speech on our work to the 9th International Congress on Innovative Approaches in Head and Neck Oncology (ICHNO 2024) which took place in Barcelona at the end of last week (March 21 to 23).

Dysphagia-optimised-IMRT (DO-IMRT) uses a computer programme to divide the radiation into lots of smaller beams that can be more precisely targeted at the cancer and then switched off.

Around 12,400 people are diagnosed each year with head and neck cancer in the UK. It is the 8th most common cancer, accounting for 3 per cent of all new cancer cases, according to Cancer Research UK.

About 70% of people cured of this type of cancer are left with swallowing issues.

Results of our study showed that double the number of patients treated with DO-IMRT (40%) reported being able to swallow normally after treatment, compared with those treated with standard IMRT.

The ICHNO congress is jointly organised by the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) and the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO).

It is held every two years and provides an important platform for discussion around the latest, cutting-edge science and innovation in head and neck oncology.


For more information about Prof Nutting's work please visit the CV page, get in touch or arrange a consultation.