Head and Neck Cancer
Cancers that affect the squamous cells in the throat, larynx, mouth, sinuses or nose, causing tumours are collectively called Head and Neck cancer. Also known as the Squamous Cell Carcinoma. There are 5 types of Head and Neck Cancers, namely:
- Laryngeal and Hypo-pharyngeal Cancer
- Nasal Cavity and Para-nasal Sinus Cancer
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer
- Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer
- Salivary Gland Cancer
All these cancers are named after the organs they effect found in the head or neck. Head and neck cancer is a significant problem in India, accounting to one-third or 33.3% of all cancer in our country, compared to just 4-5% worldwide. People older than 50 years of age are more prone to this disease, although it does occur in younger people as well. It is more common in men, but the difference is not that big of a contrast. Head and neck cancer accounts for 30% cancers in all males in India, while 11-16% in all females in India.
Common symptoms basically include a lump or sore that refuses to heal, or sore throat that doesn’t get better. Other symptoms include:
- Red or white patches in the mouth.
- Lumps in the head or neck area, which may or may not be painful.
- Bad Odour in the mouth
- Hoarse Voice
- Difficulty Breathing
- Pain in swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Unexplained fatigue
See a doctor if you have any of the above mentioned symptoms, always trust premier medical institutions like Paras Hospitals group, which are well-equipped with advanced facilities and efficient doctors.
Causes and Risk Factors
Common causes include smoking or chewing of tobacco. Smoking and chewing of tobacco accounts to 75% of all head and neck cancers. Although they are not risk factors for salivary gland cancer. Other risk factors include:
- Infection with HPV or Human Papillomavirus
- Consumption of paan
- Consumption of preserved or salted food
- Poor Oral Hygiene
- Occupational Chemical Inhalation
- Long-term exposure to sunlight
Treatment and Management
Head and Neck cancers are curable, especially if found early. Treatment depends upon factors such as the type of cancer and the stage it is in, the health of the patient, possible side effects and preferences of the patient. Main treatments are:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
Treatment could also include a combination of one or more therapies.