Head and neck cancer is a term used to describe cancers that originate in the head or neck area. Cancers of the head and neck are often identified by the site in which they originate.
Traditionally, sites of head and neck cancer include:
Tumors treated in the Head and Neck Center include, but are not limited to those of the:
Prevention, diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancers vary depending on the particular type of cancer.
Symptoms of head and neck cancers vary by cancer type. General symptoms may include:
Having one or more of the symptoms listed above does not necessarily mean you have a head and neck cancer. However, it is important to discuss any symptoms with your doctor, since they may indicate other health problems.
The risk of developing several head and neck cancers can be reduced through lifestyle choices. Other risk factors are attributed to the environment and cannot be changed or controlled.
Tobacco (including cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco and snuff) andalcohol consumption are the two most common causes of head and neck cancer. Heavy tobacco and alcohol intake together greatly increases the risk.
Additional risk factors may include:
Early detection of head and neck cancers are very important for the best possible outcome. If found early, many head and neck cancers are considered curable. Understanding the risks and symptoms of head and neck cancers can lead to an earlier diagnosis. Any problems you find in your mouth, throat, nose and lymph nodes in your neck should be discussed with your doctor promptly.
Treatments for head and neck cancers include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or a combination of these treatments. Before deciding on the best treatment option, it is important to understand how that treatment option may affect the way the person eats, breathes, looks and/or talks. Many head and neck patients will require rehabilitation after treatment, including occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy and/or reconstructive surgery.