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Head & Neck Cancers

Understanding the key facts and figures about head & neck cancer research.

In Canada, an estimated 4,700 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancers every year. These cancers tend to affect people over the age of 45, are more common in men than women, and are often preventable. It is estimated that in 2017, 1,250 Canadians died from head and neck cancers, which have an average five-year survival rate of 63 per cent.

There are several types of head and neck cancers. Tumours can form in different part of a person’s nose, mouth or throat, including the larynx, pharynx, tongue, tonsils and salivary glands, amongst others. Thyroid cancers are many times included in this grouping.

If found early, head and neck cancer are curable, but today, a lack of proper screening and of second line treatments make head and neck cancers a pressing health issue in Canada.

Our Research Strategy

Given these challenges, the Terry Fox Research Institute has embarked on a multi-pronged strategy to fund the best head and neck cancer scientific teams and programs in the country.

In 2017/18, roughly 2 per cent of the money invested by the TFRI supported head and neck cancer research. This added up to a total investment of nearly $450,000.*

To allocate its resources, the Institute has international experts evaluate the excellence and the potential for impact of all its research projects. This approach distinguishes our research investment strategy from all others in Canada and allows donors to be confident that their investment is supporting the top 5% of Canadian researchers and their science.

*Our scientific discovery projects are interdisciplinary by design and often focus on more than one cancer type. The figures listed above are an estimate and should not be taken as exact figures.