Head and Neck Cancer

What is head and neck cancer?

The goal of head and neck oncology, a branch of medical oncology, is to identify, manage, and treat cancers of the head and neck, particularly those of the salivary glands, pharynx, and oral cavity. Speech, swallowing, breathing, and other crucial functions can all be negatively impacted by head and neck cancers, which can also negatively affect a patient's quality of life. Usually, a physical examination, imaging tests, a biopsy, and other diagnostic techniques are used to determine the presence of head and neck cancer. If you are concerned about head and neck cancer, you must speak with Dr Motilall. She can provide additional information on the specific type that may bother you and the different diagnostic and therapeutic options.

Head and neck cancer causes

A person's cancer type and specific risk factors can determine the cause of head and neck cancer. In general, head and neck cancers are associated with the following risk factors and causes:

  • List ImageAge Age raises the likelihood of developing head and neck cancer.
  • List ImageAlcohol consumption Head and neck cancer risk can be increased by heavy alcohol usage, especially when combined with tobacco use.
  • List ImageExposure to certain chemicals Head and neck cancer risk may be increased by specific chemicals, such as wood, dust or chemicals used in rubber production.
  • List ImageFamily history A family history of these conditions can boost the likelihood of acquiring head and neck cancer.
  • List ImageGender Men, compared to women, have an increased chance of getting head and neck cancer.
  • List ImageHuman papillomavirus (HPV) infection Head and neck cancer, especially oropharyngeal cancer, is more likely to occur in people with certain HPV
  • List ImagePoor diet A diet high in processed, smoked, or salty foods and low in fruits and vegetables has been associated with an increased risk of head and neck cancer.
  • List ImageTobacco use Head and neck cancer risk might be increased by smoking or using other tobacco products.

Not everyone with these risk factors will develop head and neck cancer, and many people who develop the disease may not have any known risk factors.

Types of head and neck cancers

Some of the common types of head and neck cancers include:

  • List ImageLaryngeal cancer The vocal cords and epiglottis are all affected by the development of this type of cancer in the larynx (voice box).
  • List ImageNasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer The sinuses, the air-filled areas behind the nose, and the nasal cavity are where this type of cancer
  • List ImageOral cavity cancer This type of cancer forms in the mouth, including the gums, lips, tongue, cheek, and hard and soft palate.
  • List ImageOropharyngeal cancer The base of the tongue, the tonsils, and the soft palate are all areas of the pharynx where this type of cancer typically occurs.
  • List ImageSalivary gland cancer The salivary glands are where this type of cancer
  • List ImageThyroid cancer Located in the neck, hormones that control metabolism are produced by the thyroid gland and contribute to the development of this type of cancer.

Head and neck cancer symptoms

Head and neck cancer symptoms frequently include:

  • List ImageVoice modifications, such as hoarseness or voice deepening
  • List ImageNosebleeds or sinus congestion
  • List ImagePain in the teeth or jaw that does not go away.
  • List ImagePain or difficulty swallowing
  • List ImagePain or numbness in the face or jaw
  • List ImagePersistent foul breath or unpleasant aftertaste
  • List ImagePersistent ear pain
  • List ImageRed or white patches in the mouth
  • List ImageSore throat or hoarseness that does not go away.
  • List ImageUnusual lumps or swelling in the neck.

It is crucial to remember that not everyone encountering these symptoms will have head and neck cancer, and similar symptoms can also be brought on by illnesses other than head and neck cancer.

Head and neck cancer treatments

Some common treatments for Head and neck cancer include:

  • List ImageChemotherapy Drugs are used to eradicate cancer cells and reduce tumour Chemotherapy can be administered intravenously or orally and used alone or simultaneously with other treatments.
  • List ImageImmunotherapy By either enhancing the immune response or preventing particular proteins from inhibiting the immunological response, this treatment takes advantage of the patient's immune system to combat cancer.
  • List ImageRadiation therapy High-energy radiation destroys cancer cells and reduces tumour Internally, using a radioactive source inserted into the diseased tissue, or externally, using a machine that distributes radiation to the malignant area, are the two ways that radiation treatment can be administered.
  • List ImageSurgery This is frequently utilised to remove the malignant tissue and any nearby healthy tissue borders. The nature and location of the malignancy will determine whether a typical open incision is used or a minimally invasive technique like endoscopic or robotic surgery is best.
  • List ImageTargeted therapyThis treatment employs medications that target genes or proteins in cancer cells to slow or stop the spread of cancer.