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Overview

Cancer is an infectious disease that causes cells to change and grow out of control. Normally, our bodies produce new cells as we need them, replacing old or damaged ones. When cancer develops, however, this process gets disturbed. Cancer cells grow even when the body doesn’t need them, and they don’t die when they should. These extra cells can form tumors or abnormal growths.

Cancers can develop anywhere in the body, but they most commonly occur in certain organs, such as the lung, breast, colon, skin, or prostate. For example, head and neck cancers develop in the tissues of the head or neck, including the throat, larynx (voice box), nose, sinuses, or salivary glands.

Let’s understand more about head and neck cancer in detail.

Types of Head and Neck cancers

There are many types of head and neck cancers, typically named for the part of the body where they originate. Below Mentioned most common types of head and neck cancer are:

  • Laryngeal cancer: Cancer that starts in the larynx (voice box)
  • Oral cancer: Cancer that starts in the mouth or lips
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer: Cancer that starts in the nasopharynx (the upper part of the throat behind the nose)
  • Salivary gland cancer: Cancer that starts in the salivary glands (glands that produce saliva)
  • Thyroid cancer: Cancer that starts in the thyroid gland (a small butterfly-shaped gland in the lower part of the neck)

While head and neck cancers can occur in people of any age, they are most commonly diagnosed in people over 50. Men are also more likely than women to develop head and neck cancer. In addition, smoking and excessive alcohol use are major risk factors for developing these cancers.

Symptoms of head and neck cancer

Head and neck cancer symptoms vary depending on the type and location of cancer. However, some common signs and symptoms include:

  • A sore or growth in the mouth, lips, or throat that does not heal
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent hoarseness or change in the voice
  • A cough that does not go away
  • Frequent nosebleeds or a blocked feeling in the nose
  • Ear pain or trouble hearing
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Unexplained weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to determine the cause. However, non-cancerous conditions can also cause many symptoms, such as an infection, so it’s important not to self-diagnose. Medical professionals are the only ones capable of making a diagnosis.

Diagnosing head and neck cancer

If your doctor suspects that you may have head and neck cancer, they will probably order one or more tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests may include:

  • Biopsy: A procedure in which a small tissue sample is removed from the body for examination under a microscope. It is usually the best way to confirm cancer.
  • Imaging tests: X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to create detailed pictures of the inside of the body. These can help determine the size and location of a tumor.
  • Endoscopy: A thin, lighted tube is inserted through the nose or mouth into the throat or esophagus. It allows the doctor to visualize any abnormal areas directly.

What are the possible complications of bone cancer?

Possible complications of bone cancer include spreading the disease to other parts of the body, such as the lungs or brain, and the development of secondary cancers. Treatment side effects, such as infection and nerve damage, are also possible.

Treatment of head and neck cancer

The treatment for head and neck cancer depends on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer and the person’s overall health. Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.

For head and neck cancer, surgery is the most common treatment. The type of surgery performed will depend on the location and size of the tumor. In some cases, only a portion of the affected tissue is removed. In other cases, the entire organ may need to be removed.

Besides surgery, other treatment options like radiation therapy and chemotherapy are used to kill cancer cells.

Head and neck cancer can be a debilitating disease, but many people can make a full recovery with early diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you know has head and neck cancer symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor so that the cause can be determined and treatment can be started if necessary.

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    Conclusion

    If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with head and neck cancer, it’s important to stay positive and consult with a medical professional to discuss treatment options and the best course of action. With early diagnosis and treatment, many people can make a full recovery.

    You can also book an appointment with our experts to understand head and neck cancers in detail.

    Doctor Who Treats Head and Neck Cancer

    Dr. Amit Chakraborty

    MCh-Surgical Oncology

    Dr. Amit Chakraborty is a Surgical Oncologist in Girgaon, Mumbai, with 15 years of experience in this field. He specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancers.

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