Head & Neck Cancer
- Almost 30% of cancers among Indians
- Major causes are chewing tobacco, betel nut, paan, smoking cigarettes and consuming excessive alcohol.
- The HPV which increases the risk of throat cancer.
- It’s the sixth most common cancer worldwide, predominantly associated with tobacco use
It’s hard to detect this cancer in the first place as it’s related to head and neck and we often think it’s a normal thing for having a neck pain or a headache. Most common symptoms that help in detecting the cancer are:
- A sore in the mouth for more than 3 weeks
- Change in voice
- Facing difficulty in chewing and swallowing
- A lump in the neck
- Bleeding, pain or numbness in the nose or mouth
- Difficulty in moving the mouth
- Facial, neck or ear pain
Head and Neck cancer can be prevented and cured if detected early. There is no evidence for an effective screening programme for head and neck cancers but dentists should include a full examination of the oral mucosa as part of a routine dental check-up.
Diagnosis of head & neck cancer include:
- CT or MRI
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Direct pharyngolaryngoscopy and CXR
The disease can be classified as:
- Stage I – Early disease.
- Stage II – Locally advanced disease.
- Stage III – Tumor present in lymph nodes.
- Stage IV – Metastatic disease.
TIt easy to treat this cancer at an early stage, however, there are basic treatments that’s been done with the patient suffering from Head & Neck cancer:
- Follow up
Patients should be seen frequently and regularly within the first three years following treatment and should receive appropriate speech and language therapy to optimize swallowing function and reduce the risk of aspiration.