Head And Neck Cancers


CONDITIONS

Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancers can occur in the mouth, gums, cheeks, tongue, hard palate, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses and (less commonly) the salivary glands. These typically originate as squamous cell carcinomas on the wet surfaces within the mouth, nose and throat and are often (but not always) tied to tobacco use (smoked and chewed), heavy consumption of alcohol or HPV infections. In the case of cancers that begin in the salivary glands, these are referred to as adenocarcinomas, adenoid cystic carcincomas or mucoepidermoid carcinomas. Head and neck cancers can also occur in the brain, skull base, thyroid and parathyroid glands, lymph nodes in the neck, lips, vocal cords and eyes. While symptoms will vary depending on the location of the cancer, they can include everything from blocked sinuses to voice changes, nose bleeds, ringing in the ears, loose teeth, earaches, headaches, hearing problems and weight loss. Treatment for these cancers depends upon the degree to which they have spread, but often calls for their surgical removal along with radiation and/or chemotherapy. Diagnosis and care for these conditions can require a multidisciplinary approach that includes Ear, Nose and Throat physicians (ENTs), otolaryngologists/head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists and plastic surgeons.
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