Just Diagnosed with Head and Neck Disease: Answers from an expert

What is head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancer regularly starts in the moist surfaces that line the mouth, throat, and nose. The vast majority of these tumours are a type called squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma starts in the level squamous cells that make up the lining of mouth and throat. Other uncommon tumours originate in the salivary glands or the skin of the head and neck region.

What causes head and neck Cancers?

Consuming alcohol and utilizing tobacco increase the risk of head and neck cancer. Any kind of tobacco use—cigarettes, pipes, chewing tobacco, and cigars—increases risk of cancer growth. Most head and neck cancer occur in 5th and 6th decade. They are more common in men than in women.

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer growth?

Symptoms of head and neck cancer growth can include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sore throat
  • Changes in voice
  • A sore/ulcer in mouth that doesn't heal
  • A lump in the neck
  • Nasal bleed

How are head and neck cancers diagnosed and staged?

If the doctor suspects you may have head and neck cancer, the initial step is to have a point by point physical exam focused on the head and neck area. However, an analysis of head and neck disease must be affirmed with an assessment of a tissue sample under a microscope (biopsy). This tissue test is removed during a procedure called a biopsy.

How are head and neck cancer growths treated?

Depending on site of origin and type of cancer different combinations of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy are used. It is decided after proper staging of disease with biopsy and imaging.

What is the long term sequelae of head and neck cancer treatment?

Surgery or radiotherapy for early stage cancer cause minimal long-term morbidity. Treatment of advanced stage cancers leave significant side effects, which can be minimised with reconstruction of defects with flaps and using advanced radiotherapy techniques.