Head and Neck Dietitians 

Good nutrition is essential from the outset to aid recovery following all types of head and neck cancer treatment. Our team provides assistance and advice concerning eating and drinking, recommending prescribed supplements and tube feeding.

Having treatment for head and neck cancer is very likely to impact upon your ability to eat and drink. This can lead to impaired wound healing, increased length of hospital stay, poor quality of life and can also result in interruptions to treatment. Side effects of treatments can include swallowing difficulties, dry mouth, nausea and a reduced appetite meaning eating and drinking enough can be challenging at times

The Head and Neck Dietitians see patients undergoing all types of treatment for head and neck cancer including radiotherapy, chemotherapy and/or surgery. They are there to support you throughout your treatment journey and for as long as is needed after treatment is completed.

The Head and Neck Dietitians are here to:

  • Make an assessment of your individual nutritional needs
  • Advise on how your planned treatment may affect your ability to eat and drink
  • Discuss nutritional goals and agree on a suitable plan with you to help you meet them
  • Provide practical dietary advice and written information to help you to implement changes at home

  • Enteral Tube Feeding Service

    Due to the effects of disease or treatment, you may not always able to meet your nutritional needs through eating and drinking alone. You may require a feeding tube. If this is recommended as part of your treatment plan, the dietitians will provide full counselling on why this is needed and what is entailed.

    The most commonly used feeding tubes are nasogastric tubes which are inserted via the nostril and is usually used if alternative feeding is needed for days to short weeks. A gastrostomy feeding tube is inserted directly into the stomach and may be recommended if you require alternative feeding for a longer period.

    If a gastrostomy is needed, the dietitian works with the gastroenterology team and ward to organise placement of the tubes and a short admission to the hospital for the procedure. Usually only an overnight stay required. The Head and Neck Dietitians will provide dietetic support for you for as long as the tube remains in place and will ensure that community based teams such as the GP, district nurses and community dietitians are involved.

  • Research, training and education

    In addition to working directly with patients the Head and Neck Dietitians also train and educate other members of the multi-disciplinary team on aspects of nutrition. This ranges from induction sessions for new members of staff to providing updates on changes in practice to existing staff.

    The Head and Neck Dietitians are involved in research and audit and present regularly at National and International Conferences and study days.

  • Contact the Head and Neck Dietitians

    Tel: 0203 447 9755

 Head and Neck Dietitians

Florence Cook, Specialist Dietitian

Florence Cook

Florence graduated from the University of Nottingham in 2013. She joined the head and neck team at UCLH in 2014 where her main responsibilities include caring for inpatients on the head and neck ward, attending the MDT clinic, and leading the dietitian-led telephone clinic. In her role Florence ensures excellent nutritional care is focussed around individual needs and is provided to patients across their treatment.

Florence has previously worked in other specialities including Haematology, Upper GI oncology and Stroke medicine/Elderly Care.

Steven Hannah, Senior Specialist Dietitian

Steven graduated from London Metropolitan University in 2002, and has worked in various specialities, including stroke, infectious diseases and nutrition support in intensive care. His main specialist interest is nutrition support in the head and neck population. Steven joined the Head and Neck Cancer Team in 2007. In his role, he uses evidence based practice in the nutritional management of patients with malignancies of the head and neck, and in partnership with the multidisciplinary team (MDT), strives to optimise patient care and quality of life.

Steven leads on the head and neck dietetic pre-treatment clinics, attends the Wednesday MDT head and neck clinic and assists with reviewing patients in the radiotherapy and the dietetic led post treatment clinics when required.

Jessica Harris, Senior Specialist Dietitian

Jessica Harris

Jessica trained to become a dietitian at King’s College London, completing her degree in 2010. She has been part of the dietetic team at UCLH since 2011 and previously worked in the areas of neurology and upper GI oncology before joining the head and neck team.

Jessica leads on the dietetic inpatient service reviewing patients on the wards at UCH where she endeavours to ensure patients receive optimal nutrition during their stay. Jessica also leads on the dietetic led post treatment clinic where she supports those who have completed treatment to maintain and improve their nutritional status.

“I love that my role means I get to work with patients throughout their journey at UCLH. Supporting them to build up their eating and drinking so that a feeding tube is no longer needed is especially rewarding”

Helen Harrison, Senior Specialist Dietitian

Helen Harrison

Helen trained to become a dietitian at London Metropolitan University, completing her degree in 2010. She has been part of the dietetic team at UCLH since 2010 and has had previous experience in adult oncology, paediatrics and bariatric surgery before joining the Head and Neck Team.

Helen leads on the dietetic radiotherapy service, regularly reviewing patients throughout their treatment.

“What I really enjoy about working in radiotherapy is that I get to see patients twice weekly throughout their treatment and so feel I get more of an understanding of the person I’m reviewing and therefore better able to make a difference. I enjoy working with the rest of the team in radiotherapy - we work closely together to get each patient safely through their treatment.”

Harpreet Sohal, Dietetic Assistant

Harpreet Sohal

Harpreet Sohal graduated with MSc Nutrition from King’s College London in 2015. She joined the Head and Neck team at UCLH in 2015, where her main responsibilities involve helping to co-ordinate discharge of patients from hospital that require ongoing tube feeding at home. She also assists in reviewing patients on the wards, in the radiotherapy service and out-patients via our telephone clinic.