Head and Neck Cancer Support Society

The Cause

To enhance the lives of those affected by Head and Neck Cancer; patients and their caregivers.

About our Society:
The Head and Neck Cancer Support Society is the first of its kind in Canada. It was formed on the principle – “Of the patients, by the patients and for the patients.”
In 2015, the Institute for Reconstructive Sciences in Medicine (iRSM) conducted an initiative to address their Waitlist process. Part of this process involved seeking patient feedback. A key component of that feedback noted that support for Head and Neck Cancer patients was needed.
The Head and Neck Cancer Support Society is the result of sustained efforts of Dr. Suresh Nayar and a small but dedicated volunteer group of head and neck cancer patients who began collaboration in 2016.
In July 2018, the Head and Neck Cancer Support Society officially received its registered Society.

The Head and Neck Cancer Support Society is an independent organization with no affiliation with any healthcare organization. We currently operate through the sustained and dedicated efforts of a small group of volunteer Head and Neck Cancer patients who despite their daily health challenges are committed to serving other patients and their caregivers.

Awards/Recognition:

2018: Mayor Don Iveson proclamaimed September 28, 2018 Patient Empowerment Day in Edmonton in recognition of our official launch. The proclamation recognized HNCSS as the first of its kind in Canada.

2019: Covenant Health awarded our advisor Dr. Suresh Nayar the Social Justice Award for his work with our patient advisory team and the official formation of the Head and Neck Cancer Support Society.

Current Status:
Membership: over 60 individual s
We have collaborated with the University of Alberta Ear,Nose, Throat Clinic to co-host peer support group meetings (twice-monthly). We have connected with Wood Buffalo Health Authority and have agreed to collaborate with them in supporting head and neck cancer patients in Northern Alberta. Our next community of focus is Grande Prairie.

Our Social Media:
Twitter - @HNCSS2
Instagram - @hncssyeg
LinkedIn - Head and Neck Cancer Support Society
Facebook - Head and Neck Cancer Support Society

Head-Way.org
info@head-way.org

Who Will it Benefit?

Persons who have been affected by Head and Neck Cancer; patients and caregivers.

Head and Neck Cancer is the 6th fastest growing cancer type. It is only second to Brain Cancers as the most complex to treat.

A single Head and Neck Cancer patient would typically receive care from a specialized ENT surgeon, radiation and chemo oncologist, speech therapist, swallow therapist, physiotherapist, occupational therapist, hearing specialist, psychologist, neurologist to name just a few touchpoints in the healthcare system.

Head and Neck Cancer patients are unique in the aspect that they typically will live with long term, debilitating side-effects related to their treatment. Many live with feeding tubes due to an inability to swallow, or breathe through a trach (Stoma) in their neck, some are unable to speak, many suffer from dry mouth, loss of teeth, upper body weakness and nerve damage due to surgery and radiation. The disfigurement alone leaves many socially isolated and ostrasized leading to mental health issues. Connecting with those patients and providing a sacred and safe space to feel belonging is at the core of what we do.

Not only will patients benefit from the support of the Head and Neck Cancer Support Society but the healthcare community as well. There is a growing trend recognizing the value of the lived experiences of patients and the importance of their input into healthcare policy and practices. Our Society has very active members who are involved in patient engagement opportunities in research, education and clinical studies about Head and Neck Cancer.