Head and neck cancer : Causes-Symptoms-Diagnosis-Treatment

 What Are Head And Neck Cancers?

Head and neck cancer is a term that describes a range of cancers that start in the head and neck region. Cancer can occur in the sinuses, nose, mouth, and salivary glands down through the throat. Although these cancers are different, they are treated in a similar way, so they are considered as a group.

Skin cancers that start in the head and neck area are now classified as a type of head and neck cancer.

What Are Head And Neck Cancers?
Head And Neck Cancers

Cancers that start in the eye, brain, esophagus, thyroid, and trachea (major airways) are not usually classified as head and neck cancers.

It is estimated that there will be 4414 cases of head and neck cancer diagnosed in Australia in 2021. These cases do not include cancers of the tongue, mouth, salivary glands, tonsils, pharynx, nasal cavity, or larynx.

The chance of surviving head and neck cancer for at least five years is approximately 64.7%.

  1. Medical And Anatomical Concept Of The Human Body

Medical terms

  • Head and neck cancers are a broad class of cancers that occur within the head and neck region.

  • Head and neck cancer treatment depends on the type, location and size of your cancer. Treatment for head and neck cancers typically involves surgery, irradiation and chemotherapy. Treatments are also combined.

  • Once treated, recovery from head and neck cancers could involve operating with rehabilitation specialists and different consultants to contend with aspect effects, corresponding to hearing loss, problem eating, dental problems, thyroid issues, difficulty breathing or difficulty speaking.

  • Head and neck cancer” is that the term accustomed describes a variety of various malignant tumors that develop in or round the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.

  • Most head and neck cancers are epithelial cell carcinomas. This kind of cancer begins within the flat squamous cells that structure the skinny layer of tissue on the surface of the structures in the pinnacle and neck. Directly below this lining, that is named the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of dampish tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is merely found in the squamous layer of cells, it is known as malignant neoplastic disease in situ. If the cancer is big on the far side of this cell layer and is enraptured into the deeper tissue, then it's called invasive epithelial cell carcinoma. If doctors cannot establish where the cancer began, it is called a cancer of unknown primary. browse a lot of concerning squamous cell carcinoma of unknown primary within the head and neck.

If a head and neck cancer starts in the secretion glands (see below), the tumor can sometimes be classified as an adenocarcinoma, adenoid cystic carcinoma, or mucoepidermoid carcinoma.

Head and neck cancers are a group of malignant tumors that develop in the head around the face and neck They may be either benign (non-cancerous) or cancerous (malignant) with cancerous tumors being far more common than benign ones Four types of cancer that fall into this category include: Oral cavity cancers: Develop in the mouth lips or cheeks This type of tumor most often develops in the back of the tongue/roof of mouth region due to betel usage The second most common oral cavity site is soft palate/oropharynx due to chewing tobacco/areca nut.

Head and neck cancers include melanoma lymphoma and other types of cancer that start in the mouth throat or salivary glands These cancers are referred to as head and neck because they can occur at any location above the collarbone An estimated 11,300 people will die from head and neck cancer this year (based on 2004-2008 data) Most people with these cancers are over 50 years old One exception is oral cavity (mouth) cancer which often occurs in people between 40-50 years old.

Types of Head and neck cancer

Head and neck cancers are diagnosed in additional than 70, 000 Americans every year. Men are nearly 3 times more likely to develop the sickness than are women. Head and neck cancers embrace cancers of the mouth (such as lip and tongue), the throat or throat and also the speech organ or voice box. Early symptoms occur as a lump or nodule, numbness, swelling, hoarseness, inflammatory disease or any issue moving the jaw or swallowing. Risk factors include smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and mastication smokeless tobacco. The Sir Philip Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center physicians  have found that individuals who smoke one pack of cigarettes on a daily basis are sixfold additional probably than non-smokers to induce cancer of the top or neck. those that even have 2 alcoholic drinks a day increase their risk 20-fold.

Types of Head and Neck Cancers Include:

What is the most common head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancers are cancers that affect the head brain or salivary glands These types of cancer can develop in many parts of the mouth and throat including the lips tongue gums cheeks and pharynx (throat) The most common form of cancer affecting the head and neck is squamous cell carcinoma This type of cancer originates from inner epithelial cells that line body surfaces It is estimated by experts that approximately 12 percent of all people will be diagnosed with some form of head and neck cancers at some point during their lifetime There are two main types of this cancer.

At what stage does the cancer spread?

Cancer spreads from one part of the body to another in two main ways either by direct spread or via lymphatic system The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that carries disease fighting white blood cells around your body In the case of cancer it can be thought of as a highway for tumor cells to travel on Direct spread refers to a tumor growing into adjoining tissue and invading other organs by breaking through the wall between them To learn more about how cancer spreads see this article.

How do you know if cancer has spread to lymph nodes?

The size of lymph nodes and the location of the cancer can be factors in determining whether cancer has spread Lymph nodes that are bigger than 1 centimeter (1/2 inch) may be involved with other tissues such as bone or liver Additionally if some nodes are enlarged while others are normal-sized this may indicate spreading Likewise if a cancer is in an area where fat is close to the skin—such as in the breast or armpit—and a node is swollen near there it could mean that cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes Typically cancer spreads by traveling through the bloodstream or by direct.

What stage is cancer in the lymph nodes?

Cancer that is found in the lymph nodes has already spread When doctors talk about cancer spreading they mean that cancer cells have moved beyond their original location and taken up residence in other parts of the body When cancer spreads to a lymph node it means that cancer cells have traveled through the bloodstream or another part of the body (the primary tumor site) to reach that particular lymph node It does not necessarily mean that all of the lymph nodes are positive for cancer If only one lymph nodal is positive for cancer then only one limb on your "lymph map" will be involved But if you have many.

Can the stage of cancer be determined by a biopsy?

The first biopsy rarely provides a definitive diagnosis of cancer In most cases a pathologist will conduct additional tests to determine the stage of cancer Most tests are performed on all tissues that have been removed by the surgeon during surgery A pathologist looks at those tissues under a microscope and makes one or more diagnoses based on his or her observation of the cells and structures in each tissue sample A pathologist can determine whether cancer is present in the breast lymph nodes skin or other organs based on physical examination and microscopic evaluation of samples from these areas If there is any doubt about the presence or absence of cancer.

Symptoms Head and neck cancer

Symptoms depend on the site of the cancer, however you may have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • pain

  • swelling

  • a hoarse voice

  • a sore throat that doesn’t get better

  • coughing all the time

  • difficulties swallowing

  • bad breath

  • unexplained weight loss.

Causes Head and neck cancer

Some risk factors for head and neck cancer are alcohol consumption and tobacco use. Head and neck cancers are more common in older people and men, although the rates vary by ethnicity. Torres Strait Islanders are more likely to develop head and neck cancer than other Australians.

There are a variety of risk factors related to head and neck cancers. The most risk factors are alcohol consumption and tobacco. Head and neck cancers are a lot more common in individuals over the age of forty and men are 3 times more likely than ladies to develop head or neck cancer. Aboriginal and strait dweller people are more likely to develop head and neck cancer than different Australians.

different risk factors include:

  • viruses including the human papillomavirus (HPV) and the Epstein-Barr virus have been linked to head and neck cancers

  • a weakened immune system

  • oral hygiene - poor oral health including gum disease have been linked to cancers of the oral cavity

  • being overweight or obese

  • smoking or chewing betel nut, areca nut, gutka or pan

  • sun exposure (for head and neck skin cancer)

  • having radiation therapy to the head and neck area in the past

  • inheriting a condition linked to head and neck cancer such as Fanconi anemia or Li-Fraumeni syndrome.

Diagnosis Head and neck cancer

If you notice any symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or changes in your oral health, such as swelling or a change in color, contact your doctor or dentist. Dentists are specially trained to look for signs of mouth cancer.

Your doctor will examine your neck, ears, eyes, nose, and mouth to determine the cause of your symptoms. Other tests may include an endoscope needle or surgery to obtain a biopsy.


Your doctor will use a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end to look inside your nose, throat, and mouth using local anesthesia.

Micro laryngoscopy

Your doctor will use a tube with a light and camera on the end to look inside your voice box and throat (laryngoscope). This is done in hospital under general anesthesia.


Your doctor will remove tissue samples from the affected area for examination under a microscope. If cancer cells are found, your doctor will discuss the treatment options with you.


Doctors may use x-rays to look for tumors or damage to the bones.

CT scan

A CT scan uses x-rays to create detailed cross-sectional images of your body inside.


An MRI scan uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed images of your inside body. This test usually takes between 30 and 90 minutes.

PET-CT scan

A PET scan and CT scan can help pinpoint the location of any abnormalities in the throat or mouth. It is often used to diagnose laryngeal pharyngeal or oral cancers, or to see if cancer has spread.


You may have an ultrasound exam to look at the salivary glands, thyroid gland, and lymph nodes in the neck.

If you are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, you will likely need to have surgery. You may also need to take medications to treat the cancer.

When you are diagnosed with head or neck cancer, it is natural to feel shocked, upset, and anxious. These are all normal reactions. However, for most people it will be a difficult time. However, some people are able to continue with their normal routine.Here are some activities you can do.

Talk to your doctors' family and friends about your treatment options. Ask questions and get as much information as you need. It's up to you how involved you want to be in making decisions about your care.

Learn more about the best ways to care for your head and neck cancer.

Treatment Head and neck cancer

Managing perennial tumors once therapy is advanced and has potential complications. A palpable mass or ulcerous lesion with oedema or pain at the first web site after therapy powerfully suggests a persistent tumor. Such patients need CT (with skinny cuts) or MRI.

For native repetition after surgical treatment, all scar planes and constructive flaps are excised at the side of residual cancer. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or each could also be done however have restricted effectiveness. Patients with recurrence after radiation are best treated with surgery. However, some patients might have the benefit of extra radiation treatments, but this approach contains a high risk of adverse effects and may be through with care. The immune stop inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab are out there for perennial or pathologic process sickness proof against Pt primarily based chemotherapy, however efficaciousness information showing improvement to date are restricted to smaller trials.

Before beginning treatment for head and neck cancers, you may need to do things like change your diet or take medication that can affect your teeth and mouth.

  • Visiting a dentist.

  • You can improve your diet and nutrition by consulting with a dietitian.This will help you lose weight.

  • Start an exercise program to increase your strength.

  • Smoking can have negative consequences for your health, so quitting is the best option.


Cancer surgery is used to remove the cancerous tissue while preserving as much of the functions of the head and neck area as possible. This will depend on the type of cancer you have.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)

Radiation therapy is a controlled use of radiation to damage or kill cancer cells. It can be used as the main treatment for head and neck cancers, on its own.

Radiation therapy may be used after surgery (as adjuvant treatment) and sometimes accompanies chemotherapy.


Chemotherapy is a treatment that uses specific drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth.The drugs are usually injected into a vein using a needle.

Targeted therapy

Therapy drugs specifically target cancer cells to stop their growth.


Treatment using your own body's immune system to fight cancer may be used to treat head and neck cancers.

Palliative care

Your medical team may talk to you about palliative care if you have cancer in your head or neck. Palliative care is designed to improve your quality of life by reducing symptoms of the disease.

Treatment for head and neck cancer can help to relieve pain and manage other symptoms. This may include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or other drug therapies.

Treatment Team

Each treatment team will have a different number of health professionals, such as:

  • A GP (General Practitioner) is a doctor who looks after your general health and works together with different specialists to coordinate your treatment.

  • An ENT specialist is someone who specializes in treating disorders of the ear, nose and throat.

  • A head and neck surgeon is responsible for diagnosing and treating cancers of the head and neck.

  • A dentist- treats disorders of the mouth, face, and jaws.

  • A reconstructive surgeon is someone who performs any complex surgery that restores or repairs the body's appearance and function.

  • A medical oncologist is responsible for prescribing and coordinating the course of chemotherapy.

  • A radiation oncologist is responsible for prescribing and coordinating radiation therapy treatments.

  • A dentist evaluates and treats the mouth and teeth.

  • A cancer nurse helps people who have been diagnosed with cancer through their treatment.

  • If you identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, the liaison officer will support you during treatment and recovery.

  • Other health professionals, such as social workers, pharmacists, and counselors.

Screening for head and neck cancers

There is no national screening program for head and neck cancer available in Australia.

White patches or plaques in the mouth may be a sign of future cancer development.

Preventing head and neck cancers

Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can reduce the risk of head and neck cancers.

Prognosis for head and neck cancers

Your prognosis for head and neck cancer depends on your test results, the type of head and neck cancer, the HPV status of the tumor, how rapidly it is growing, and other factors.

If a head and neck cancer is diagnosed early, the outcomes are usually better.

 New developments in treating head and neck cancer

New treatments for head associate degreed neck cancers embrace the employment of medication that block the hormones that cause bound tumor cells to multiply. These treatments build the tumor a lot more sensitive to radiation and increase the prospect of a cure. therapy (a treatment that uses your own system to fight the disease) is speedily evolving as an option. Therapy drugs facilitate your body manufacture cancer-fighting cells.

Several new therapies are centered on decreasing facet effects of treatment whereas maintaining sensible cure rates. For example, newer therapy drugs are getting used that have less serious side effects, however still are effective in killing willcer cells.

Newer radiation techniques focus a lot of energy on tumor cells and fewer on traditional tissue, in order that patients expertise fewer facet effects. And advanced surgical techniques can take away the cancer whereas permitting the patient to regain a more normal fashion once sure-fire therapy.

There have additionally been breakthroughs in new ways of mixing surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Your supplier can tell you concerning the most recent treatments for head and neck cancers.

  1. Psychological rehabilitation for cancer

General summary

  1. People with head and neck cancers enjoy an almost 90 percent survival rate if the cancer is detected early as reported by the National Cancer Institute The odds of surviving go down substantially when the disease is diagnosed at a late stage Most head and neck cancers are treated in stages However some patients may qualify for treatment in only one stage based on certain factors including tumor size and where it is located.

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