The European Head and Neck Society (EHNS):
A True Multidisciplinary Platform for Head and Neck Oncology

In early 2006, the official documents to establish the European Head and Neck Society (EHNS) were signed by its founding Board in Brussels, Belgium. This is the final result of a road towards a true European multidisciplinary platform on head and neck tumours. It mirrors North American and other organisations and is endorsed by the International Federation of Head and Neck Oncologic Societies (IFHNOS). Herein we aim to bring this new organisation to the attention of the readers of ENT News.

founding board

Founding Board of the EHNS
(sitting L-R): Jean Louis Lefebvre and Jan Olofsson
(standing L-R): Rene Leemans, Dominique Chevalier, Patrick Bradley, and Guy Andry.


In many European countries, separate head and neck oncology societies or working groups are active. For the past couple of decades, the British, Dutch and Scandinavian societies of head and neck oncologists have held periodic joint scientific meetings that have been of a high standard and mutually beneficial. Many felt a strong desire to widen this activity to Europe as a whole and to provide to all specialists involved in head and neck cancer a common platform to meet and discuss together. In order to assess the feasibility of such a European venture, it was decided to convert the three societies' meeting into the First European Conference on Head and Neck Cancer in the French city of Lille in November 2001. This venue was chosen because of its excellent transport connections and facilities, as well as for its history and of its own work in the field of head and neck cancer. Four main topics in the field of Head and Neck Oncology were selected and discussed from a European perspective: epidemiology, oropharyngeal carcinoma, novel diagnostic methods and therapies, and quality-of-life issues. The content, attendance (from 19 different European countries) and facilities were all regarded as highly successful. During the business meeting, a consensus rose on the need of this kind of European society as a 'society of societies' (ie. a common body of national head and neck societies).
Two years later, the equally successful Second European Conference on Head and Neck Cancer was hosted in Lille again, with the subtitle 'towards a European Head and Neck Cancer Society'.1 The respective presidents of the European national societies (or their representatives) here discussed the form and structure of the new EHNS. A founding board was given the task to organise its inception and to do everything in the interest of the new society until an elected board was in place.