A Tumor or a group of tumors developing in and around the throat, nose, voice box, sinuses, or the head are collectively called head and neck cancer. This type of cancer can be further classified into five groups: oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses, and salivary glands.
Cancer that affects the insides of the mouth along with the lips, fall under the category of cancer of the oral cavity. This type of cancer affects the gums, insides of the cheek, hard palate, and tongue.
Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
Cancer cell development in the paranasal sinus and the nasal cavity fall under this category.
Cancer cells begin to grow in any of the salivary glands and cause cancer of the salivary glands. This is a rare type of cancer.
Cancer in the larynx can affect the vocal cords and the epiglottis.
Cancer that affects the organs inside the throat including the tongue, tonsils, and soft palate is the Pharynx.
CARE hospitals have a multidisciplinary team of globally recognised doctors, specialists, oncologists, surgical oncologists, ENT specialists, as well as pain and palliative specialists for Head and Neck cancer diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare. Our specialists emphasize on organ preservation, restoration of form, and function by reconstructive surgery, radiation therapy, and rehabilitation using state-of-the-art machines and surgical procedures equipped with the latest technology, performed by highly skilled surgical oncologists.
Head and neck cancer consists of tumors forming in various parts of the head and neck, including the mouth, throat, nose, thyroid, etc. Some of the general symptoms of head and neck cancer are:
Persistent pain in neck, throat, or ears,
Blood in the sputum,
An ulcer in the mouth that does not heal,
Swelling in the neck,
Voice remains hoarse persistently,
Teeth become loose,
Difficulties in chewing and swallowing,
Difficulty in movement of jaws or tongue,
Persistent white or red patch in the mouth,
Feeling numb in the tongue and surrounding areas,
Nasal congestion or chronic sinusitis that does not heal despite repeated surgery,
Some of the category-specific symptoms of head and neck cancer are:
Pharynx and larynx- ache in the ear, painful swallowing, difficulty in breathing, talking, and hearing.
Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus- frequency nosebleeds, headaches, persistent sinus infections, swelling around the eyes, and pain in the teeth.
Salivary glands- swelling around the chin area and jawbone, numbness of muscles, lumps and sores in the mouth, blood in the spit, and difficulty in swallowing.
Our highly experienced team of oncologists provide an expert diagnosis for head and neck cancer. They may look for the signs and symptoms, and ask for the patient's medical history. They may also recommend a physical examination and other diagnostic tests.
During the physical examination, the parts inside the mouth, throat, neck, and nasal cavities may be inspected using small mirrors and lights to look for any lumps in and around the lips, gums, cheek, and neck. An endoscopic approach may be followed to examine the areas inside the body using a flexible tube.
Other tests include tests of blood, urine, or tissue/cells from the nodes which are then sent to the laboratory for diagnosis. X-rays, CT scans, PET scans, and MRIs may also be performed to obtain images of the head and neck area.
However, a biopsy is the only sure shot way to determine the presence of cancerous cells in head and neck areas. This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the removal of tissue from the concerned areas and testing under the microscope to make a diagnosis.
Every cancer patient is uniquely different with different medical needs where attention is to be focused on by healthcare providers. Therefore, a special team consisting of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, onco-pathologists, radiation oncologists, and imaging specialists at CARE hospitals evaluate the health condition of a patient and chalk out a customized treatment plan for them.
Some of the modalities of head and neck cancer treatments available at CARE hospitals are enumerated as follows:
Medical treatments of head and neck cancer include chemotherapy using drugs that are usually given alongside radiation therapy. The anti-cancer drugs can kill the cancer-causing cells inside the body.
Treatment of cancer using radiation of different types may be suggested to the patients such as 3DCRT, IMRT or IGRT.
In head and neck cancer surgery, the tumor is removed along with some of the surrounding healthy cells. This procedure may be assisted by radiation therapy.
In targeted therapy, drugs are used to kill cancerous cells. Although, unlike the use of drugs in chemotherapy, in targeted therapy, the drugs can target and destroy cancerous cells without causing much damage to the surrounding healthy cells. However, in the treatment of head and neck cancer, the use of targeted therapy is limited.
Rehabilitation programs are postoperative period services offered to patients who have undergone cancer treatments recently. Such programs are supervised by specialists and the goal is focused on providing postoperative comprehensive care to help patients get back to their daily activities quicker as well as improve their overall health and well being.
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