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Head and Neck Cancer

Cancers of the neck and head generally start in a patient’s mouth, nose, throat, larynx or sinus areas. Unfortunately, the head and neck cancers are common in the US, with about 55,000 Americans each year developing a cancer in the head or their neck. Most cases of these types of cancer are preventable and early diagnosis and effective treatment can lead to recovery in most cases.

Types of Head and Neck Cancer

Some common types of these cancers are as follows:

  • Laryngeal or Voice Box Cancer
  • Hypolaryngeal Cancer
  • Nasal Cavity and Sinus Cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Salivary Gland Cancer (tongue cancer)
  • Basal Cell Cancer (skin cancer)

If you have any reason to suspect that you or any of your loved ones may have symptoms of throat cancer, or head and neck cancer, please do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced Head and Neck Cancer specialist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.

What Causes Head and Neck Cancer?

There are many varying causes of head and neck cancer, depending on its type and kind. Tissue abnormalities and gene mutations caused by certain carcinogens, prolonged sun-exposure as well as genetics can be blamed for most types of cancers. Use of tobacco is perhaps the most common cause of head and neck cancer in America today. It can cause malfunctioning of the epithelial and mucosal cells and tissues of the linings of head and neck and may affect the deeper tissues if not promptly treated.

What are the Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer?

Depending on the specific area of head and neck affected by cancer, your symptoms may vary. However, people with head and neck cancer generally experience following symptoms:

Painful or painless lump, bump or mass in the head or neck area

  • Sore throat that does not go away
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • A persistent mouth sore or swelling in mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent Earache
  • A black or blue spot on the face resulting from malignant melanoma
  • A growing pale patch on the skin caused by basal cancer
  • Persistent nasal obstruction or congestion
  • Foul mouth odor despite good hygiene and dietary habits
  • Unusual nasal discharge
  • Nose or mouth bleeds
  • Difficulty moving the jaw
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Some or all of these symptoms may appear without an underlying cancer, however, proper diagnosis is essential to rule out the danger of developing head and neck cancer.

What are the Risk Factors for Head and Neck Cancer?

Following are some of the more notable risk factors for head and neck cancer:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco is a risk factor. Tobacco is responsible for about 85% of all head and neck cancers
  • Second hand smoke
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Prolonged sun exposure
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Epstein – Barr virus (EBV)
  • GERD and LPR
  • Inhaling carcinogens like wood dust, asbestos, paint fumes and industrial chemicals

When Should I see a Doctor?

If you notice any of the symptoms described above and find no improvement for a week, you should consult an experienced otolaryngologist to correctly diagnose your condition.

How is Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosed?

Your ENT specialist may use following diagnostic procedures to determine the kind and severity of your cancer:

  • A physical exam to look for any lumps or abnormalities in the neck, lips, gums, cheeks, nose ,mouth, throat and tongue
  • Endoscopy involving a thin and flexible lighted tube may be used
  • Biopsy involving removal of a small amount to tissues from the area suspected to be cancerous, can help with effective diagnosis
  • X-ray or Ultrasound to look for any abnormalities in the internal structure of your head and neck
  • CT or CAT scan
  • MRI
  • HPV testing

How is Head and Neck Cancer Treated?

Following are some head and neck cancer treatments that your doctor may recommend:

  • Surgery to remove cancerous tumors, using surgical tools or laser
  • Radiation therapy to destroy cancerous cells through X-rays and some other particles
  • Chemotherapy to treat your cancer using powerful drugs
  • Targeted therapy

Head and neck cancer can be dangerous! If you have any reason to suspect that you or any of your loved ones may have symptoms of throat cancer, or head and neck cancer, please do not hesitate to set up an appointment with a skilled and experienced Head and Neck Cancer specialist at Eastside ENT specialists in Ohio. Give us a call at 440-352-1474 and access quality medical care for your child.

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