Head & Neck Cancers
Head & Neck Cancers usually arise from the tissue lining the mouth and the neck which is called squamous epithelial tissue.
Types of Head & Neck Cancer
Some of the common Head & Neck Cancers include:
Oral Cavity Cancer
Cancer may arise from gums, tongue, inner cheeks or the top inside of your mouth. Initially, it appears like a red or white patch which slowly progresses causing pain and swelling.
Cancer of Pharynx and Larynx
The pharynx is situated behind the nose. It is about 5-inch long. The larynx is commonly called voice box. Cancers of pharynx or larynx are characterized by difficulty swallowing, breathing, and hearing as well as pain around the neck, throat or ear.
Cancer of pharynx can be further classified into three types. They are:
- Oropharyngeal Cancer: Cancer occurs just behind the inside of your mouth.
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Cancer occurs just behind the inside of your nose.
- Hypopharyngeal Cancer: Cancer occurs at the lower part of your throat close to the larynx.
Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses Cancer
The space inside the nose is the nasal cavity. The bones around your nose contain small spaces called sinuses. These cancers may cause blocked sinus, headache, nosebleeds, chronic sinus infections, pain associated with upper teeth and swelled eyes.
Cancer of Salivary Gland
Humans have three pairs of salivary glands. Cancer may arise in one or more salivary glands. The symptoms include swelling and pain around the jaw bone and under the chin, you may feel numbness or paralysis of facial muscles.
You may experience some other form of head or neck cancer. Do not ignore symptoms such as sores in your mouth, a lump near mouth or neck, change in color of your skin, blood that appears in your saliva, etc.
Causes of Head & Neck Cancer
The possible causes include:
- Certain viral infections
- Improper dental hygiene
- Improper hygiene of mouth or nose
- Breathing cancer-causing chemicals such as asbestos
- Improper nutrition
- Chronic acid reflux
- Poor immunity
Diagnosis of Head & Neck Cancer
Your doctor will discuss your medical history and current medical status and physically examine your head and neck for the presence of lumps, change in skin color, bleeding if any, throat infections, blocked sinuses, etc.
The tests ordered by your doctor may include:
- Blood and Urine Tests
- Tests to diagnose viral infections
- X-ray or MRI or CT-Scan
- Biopsy to
Treatment of Head & Neck Cancer
Your treatment depends on a number of factors including:
- Your age
- The type of cancer
- Stage of cancer
- Your current health conditions
The treatment options include:
Chemotherapy: It involves the use of drugs to treat cancer. The drugs may be delivered as pills or intravenous injections.
Radiation: X-rays are used to kill cancerous cells.
Surgery: Your surgeon removes the lump or tumor
Targeted Cell Therapy: It involves the use of drugs which specifically targets the cancerous cells. This prevents damage to other cells of the body.
Biological Therapy: A healthy immune system fights cancerous cells. You are given interleukins or interferons to naturally defend your body against cancerous cells.