About the Programme

The PETNECK2 programme will develop a new way to follow-up HNC patients, guided by their symptoms, and compare it to the current way. Patients will have a PET-CT scan at 1-year after finishing treatment. If no cancer is detected, patients will be educated about what symptoms of recurrent cancer to look out for. Information will also be given online (App and website) or in print (booklet). Patients will not have regular clinic visits but will be given an ‘open urgent appointment’ guaranteeing review by their clinical team within 2 weeks if they develop worrying symptoms. Patients are NOT being discharged from the care of their hospital.

Anticipated benefits of patient-led follow-up

  • Give patients control over their appointments
  • More effective in picking up any signs of recurrence early on
  • A more streamlined head and neck cancer follow-up service
  • Reduce anxiety and fear of cancer recurrence

Intervention development

The design of the App and the booklet has been informed by:
  • Evidence from literature on the barriers and enablers to patient-initiated follow-up
  • Input from head and neck patients and healthcare professionals through interviews and workshops

Training for healthcare professionals and Nurses

  • Bespoke training package for clinical team delivering the education session
  • Modular and can be undertaken remotely
  • Focussed on motivating and promoting positive health behaviours in patients.

Feasibility study and RCT

The feasibility study, followed by a clinical study, will compare the new PET-CT guided, patient-initiated follow-up with clinic-led follow-up. The aim is to find out:
  1. Which is better at detecting cancer recurrence,
  2. What effects these two ways have on patients’ experience, worry about recurrence and quality-of-life
  3. Which costs less, although looking for cost savings is not the main reason for examining this new follow-up strategy

Programme Leads: Prof. Hisham Mehanna and Dr Paul Nankivell
Sponsor: The University of Birmingham
Lead grant holder: University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
Funder: NIHR PGfAR

Programme Workstreams (WS)

WS 1Patient Advisory Group (PAG)
WS 2Systematic reviews
WS 3Intervention development
WS 4Feasibility study of the intervention
WS 5Interventional Randomised Controlled Trial
WS 6Development and validation of a clinical predictive model of risk of HNC recurrence