Saving Faces – The Facial Surgery Research Foundation is the only charity in the UK solely dedicated to reducing the incidence of facial injuries, disorders and diseases including oral cancer worldwide. Our mission is to improve treatment for these conditions and the psychological outcomes by leading research into these conditions.
With over 20 years of experience leading research of the highest quality, we pursue our mission by delivering ground-breaking research projects, clinical audits and outreach programmes with real-life improvements for patients in the UK and across the globe:
NFORC – The National Facial, Oral and Oculoplastic Research Centre
Saving Faces has partnered with a number of national surgical organisations including the British Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (BAOMS), in running and funding the world’s only National Facial, Oral and Oculoplastic Research Centre (NFORC). Through NFORC we carry out clinical trials to show which treatment is best for any disease or injury affecting the mouth or face. We do this by collecting accurate data on the results of every treatment and operation carried out by the surgeons with several years of follow-up with the patients. For example, we have run a clinical trial with Cancer Research UK for early mouth cancer in parallel with developing screening and diagnostic tests. The results of these trials have helped improve treatment for patients.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England (RCSEng) has selected NFORC as its head and neck cancer trials centre. This collaborative approach enables our researchers to answer vital questions more rapidly than even the most famous of single institutions.
SEND – Selective Elective Neck Dissection
Our game-changing SEND study was the first nationwide randomised surgical trial on early mouth cancer. It compared 2 different treatments for mouth cancer and showed emphatically which treatment cured more patients. These findings will save 30,000 more people with mouth cancer worldwide every year. Our study was singled out for exceptional praise by the President of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) in Geneva. The worldwide impact of our research puts it in the top 5% of all medical research papers. We succeeded because we collaborated with 68 surgeons at 27 hospitals to revolutionise the treatment of this most socially disabling cancer.
HANA – The National Head and Neck Audit
Saving Faces also now manages its biggest project to date, the National Head and Neck Audit for England and Wales (HANA). The audit focuses on patients who have cancer of the head and neck, of which there are 9,000 cases each year. The findings from HANA will contribute to changes in clinical practice and ensure that patients receive the best care possible and experience an improved quality of life.
GRAD – Genomics Radiotherapy and Dysphagia Study
This study is comparing the genomic profiles of patients with and without severe swallowing difficulties following radiotherapy for head and neck cancer, and is identifying genetic factors associated with a higher risk of developing severe complications. We aim to establish the prevalence of patients suffering from complications after having radiotherapy, and to determine if genetic tests can be performed on DNA obtained from a simple saliva test on this group of patients.
The National Wisdom Tooth Study
The National Wisdom Tooth Study is collecting data on the surgical treatment given and its outcome for every UK patient undergoing lower third molar (wisdom tooth) treatment, over a 3-month period in 2022. This is the first national study examining the incidence of problems from third molars, the treatment decisions made and the long-term outcomes of those decisions.
QOMS – Quality outcomes in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Saving Faces and NFORC are working with BAOMS and have developed and are running a national, specialty-wide quality improvement, clinical audit and effectiveness programme, called the Quality and Outcomes in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (QOMS) project. QOMS comprises of several clinical registries, the aims of which are to measure and improve quality of care for patients undergoing oral and maxillofacial surgery in the UK and the Republic of Ireland. The QOMS project is managed by the QOMS Project Team with representatives from Saving Faces and BAOMS.
We have funded many PhD students and clinical fellowships to research better investigation and treatment for cancer, facial injury, jaw joint disorder and facial disfigurement. This includes psychological PhDs studying better management for patients with all these conditions and basic science PhDs studying molecular biology of cancer and stem cells behaviour.
SFDADS – The Saving Faces Diagnostic Advice Service
Early detection of mouth cancers improves the chance of survival from 50% to 90%. Our rapid telemedicine diagnostic service (SFDADS) has been a life saver giving specialist diagnostic advice to GPs and Dentists within 3 days of receiving photos and a few facts about their patients. We have sped cancer patients to the right surgeon whilst those with benign problems have been rapidly reassured without going to hospital.
Expert Patient Helpline
During COVID, a surge of patients around the world contacted our Expert Patient helpline. If they had facial injuries, infections or cancer we immediately put them in touch with their nearest, best surgeon, even when they were abroad. Saving Faces also links new patients with former patients who can provide advice and support.
The research we conduct is partly funded by institutional donors but relies heavily on the support of individuals who want to see progress in this much-neglected area of medical research. Many of these donors have themselves experienced the devastating effect of oral cancer or facial injury. With their help and the support of the public we will make a difference to the lives of thousands of people.
At Saving Faces we keep our administrative costs to a minimum so donors can feel secure in the knowledge that their money goes towards important medical research and the support of patients.