Particularly in the early days after a diagnosis, information is key Dr Bruce Ashford, Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon.
Particularly in the early days after a diagnosis, information is key Dr Bruce Ashford, Head and Neck Cancer Surgeon.

About Beyond Five

Beyond Five was launched in August 2016 and is Australia's only not-for-profit organisation that has been established to support patients with head and neck cancer and their carers.Developed from a need to provide comprehensive, reliable and easily accessible information to everyone, regardless of where they live, Beyond Five is the first organisation of its kind to dedicate itself to the awareness, treatment and creation of a holistic community for head and neck cancer.  

Why the name?

When doctors talk about curing cancer they talk in terms of 5-year survival. However, in patients with head and neck cancer the effects of the cancer and their treatment stay with the patient forever. These effects can be seen as scars on the patient’s face that cannot be hidden by clothing, or difficulties with speech and swallowing. The name 'Beyond Five' refers to the long-term support that patients with different types of head and neck cancer often need, which is more than five years after they are diagnosed.

Why is head and neck cancer different to other cancers?

Head and neck cancer is incredibly complex and diverse.  It includes more than 10 different cancers that can affect a person’s mouth, tongue, salivary glands, skin or voice box. In the past, smoking was the most common cause of head and neck cancer typically affecting areas like the mouth, throat and voice box. However, today in Australia, many head and neck cancers are due to other causes. For example, the human papilloma virus is the most common cause of tonsil cancer, which is rapidly increasing in incidence. Skin cancers on the face are mainly due to sun exposure and may extend to the eyes, ears, nose and salivary glands. For many other head and neck cancers, such as thyroid cancer, the cause is unknown.

The Face of Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer can affect your identity unlike any other cancer. It’s a cancer that you see in the mirror. It’s a cancer that you see in the behaviour of the person sitting next to you on the bus. While many people survive the disease, the cancer can strip away a person's voice, distort their face and take away basic abilities such as eating, drinking and swallowing.

Our Mission

Beyond Five’s mission is to lead in the fight against head and neck cancer to improve the quality of life of patients, no matter where they live or their financial situation.  We do this through education, innovative treatments and a commitment to ground-breaking research. We are committed to working collaboratively with all head and neck, and other cancer organisations, across Australia to achieve our goal.

Who are we?

In 2014 a team of passionate people from all around Australia working within the field of head and neck cancer care came together to initiate and drive Beyond Five. See below who has been involved to date.

A/Prof Jonathan Clark
A/Prof Ardalan Ebrahimi
Dr Purnima Sundaresan
Sr Cate Froggatt
Dr Hubert Low
Dr Haryana Dhillon
Dr Heather Shepherd
Dr Joe Jabbour
Ms Merran Findlay
Sr Justine Oates
Sr Sarah Davies
Dr Julia Maclean
A/Prof Carsten Palme
Dr Kerwin Shannon
A/Prof Chris Milross
Dr Bruce Ashford
Dr Dion Forstner


About the Beyond Five Website

The Beyond Five website and educational content was painstakingly developed over 24 months with the input of surgeons, specialist nurses, speech pathologists, dieticians, patients and carers.

Given the complexity of head and neck cancer, one feature of the site which we believe will help patients enormously is the 3D animations for each type of head and neck cancer that guide people through the location of the cancer, how it affects a person and what treatment is available.

The information on the website also reflects the cancer care journey from diagnosis, through treatment to life after cancer. This will ensure that patients, and carers, can easily find the information they’re after at the right time and place.


Beyond Five is committed to ensuring all donated funds are used as efficiently as possible in order to help us achieve our mission. Each year Beyond Five will publish an annual report that highlights the activities and achievements for the past financial year, and also covers the financial report for the year in review.
Beyond Five is fortunate to have the continued support and expertise of Herbert Smith Freehills for legal advice.

Contact us

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