Health Blogs

Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer is the 2nd most common cancer in India. According to the latest survey more than 1.2 lakh people are diagnosed with head and neck every year in the country.

The term “head and neck cancer” describes a number of different cancers that develop in or around the mouth, pharynx, larynx, nose, and sinuses.

As many as 90 percent of head and neck cancer arise after prolonged exposure to a specific risk factor. Use of tobacco in any form (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, etc) and alcoholic beverages are

 The most common cause for developing head and neck cancer. It can also occur as a result of infection with HPV (Human Papilloma Virus). So, it is important to practice healthy lifestyle which can help prevent the occurrence of cancer.

Patients of head and neck cancer may present with complains of lump in the neck, swelling over cheek, change in voice, soreness or ulceration of mouth or tongue, bleeding from nose or mouth,or difficulty in swallowing food. Constant pain in or around the ear can also be a sign of tumor growth.

When found early, most cancers in the head and neck region can be completely cured. Cure rates for these cancers could be greatly improved if people would seek medical advice as soon as possible.

If you detect warning signs of head and neck cancer, as described above, see your doctor immediately.

In addition to signs and symptoms, tests like biopsy, endoscopy, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, MRI, PET-CT, and molecular testing may be done for complete evaluation.

The treatment planning depends on the site of tumor, stage and the patient’s health.

The treatment options range from surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a combination of these.

Newer therapies include targeted and immunotherapy which can be used in advanced stage of disease without the side effects of conventional chemotherapy.

Targeted therapy will target the cancer specific protein present as receptors over cancer cells, while limiting damage to healthy cells. Immunotherapy is also a new modality which modulates the immune system of our body to kill cancer cells.

With recent advance in the supportive care along with targeted and immunotherapies, the outcomes look better even for advanced stage cancer.

So, if you have any warning signs of head and neck cancer, see your doctor immediately. And practice healthy habits which can help prevent these diseases.

Be Head and Neck Cancer Aware