Introduction: Cancers of head and neck
Head and neck cancer originates in squamous cells that accommodate the moist, mucosal surfaces that reside inside the head and neck. Examples can be given for the nose, inside of the mouth and also the throat. Squamous cell cancers are known as squamous cell carcinomas of the neck and the head. There is one more origin for head and neck cancer which is salivary glands, but those kinds of cancers are very rare and uncommon.
Salivary glands tend to hold a variety of cells that can become cancerous, and as a result, there are many different types of salivary gland cancer.
Causes for head and neck cancer:
Two of the riskiest factors for head and neck cancers are alcohol and tobacco use. This can include chewing tobacco and consuming smokeless tobacco. It can cause cancers of the hypopharynx, oral cavity, larynx and oropharynx. If we go by the statistics, about 75% of the head and neck cancers occur due to alcohol and tobacco use. People who tend to consume tobacco and alcohol both are at a higher risk of attaining these cancers than the people who consume either alcohol or tobacco. Tobacco and alcohol do not constitute risk factors for salivary gland cancers.
Symptoms of head and neck cancers:
The symptoms of head and neck cancers can constitute a lump or a sore which does not heal very quickly. A sore throat does not end very soon, you can also face difficulty in swallowing and a change in voice. These symptoms may not be limited to just head and neck cancer. Hence, it is crucial to check with the doctor or a dentist if you have such conditions in order to be sure about the problem.
Are head and neck cancers very common?
Head and neck cancers constitute approximately 4 per cent of all cancer cases in the United States. They are more common to occur in men than in women. These types of cancers are diagnosed for people who are over 50 years of age.
How to reduce the risk of developing head and neck cancer?
People who consume tobacco are at a higher risk of developing head and neck cancer. They must have a word with their doctor to discuss the possible risks and other factors to consider ways to reduce such risk. They also must have a proper schedule as and when to meet the doctor to have regular checkups. Also, a lot of countries are following the process of clinical trials and overseeing the results. They are checking the ways they can prevent neck cancers and provide its treatment by consuming the medications prescribed and how effective they prove to be in the long run for people who are at a high risk of developing such conditions.
Things to know about neck and head cancer treatment?
There are a lot of factors to be considered when it comes to treating a patient with cancer. It depends on the exact location of the tumour, the age of the patient, the stage of cancer, and the patient’s overall health. Treatment for head and neck cancer includes a number of options such as surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted therapy. It can also include not just one but multiple surgeries. People who get diagnosed with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer are treated differently than people who have oropharyngeal cancers that are HPV-negative. Research suggests that HPV-positive oropharyngeal positive patients have a better chance of revival and can do so with less intense treatment.