Head & Neck Cancer - Types and Treatments
Head and Neck Cancer
Cancer that occurs in the head and neck region are collectively referred to as the head and neck cancer. They usually begin in the squamous cells present in the moist surfaces. This type of cancer include the cancers that occur in larynx, throat, lips, mouth, nose and salivary glands.
Different types of Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers are categorized with respect to the part in which they occur. The following are the types of head and neck cancer.
Laryngeal Cancer – The larynx is located at the top of the windpipe and prevents the food from entering the windpipe. Laryngeal Cancer is a type of throat cancer and one of the most common forms of head and neck cancer. The patients often need voice rehabilitation after the treatment.
Hypopharyngeal Cancer – The Hypopharyngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer that affects the hypopharyngeal, the lower part of the throat.
Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer – Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer is a rare type of cancer. It forms behind the nose from where the air passes to the throat or this type of cancer can also appear in the air-filled areas that usually surround the nasal cavity which is referred to as the paranasal sinus.
Salivary Gland Cancer – Salivary Gland Cancer is one of the rarest cancer and this type of cancer affects the salivary glands which are responsible for producing the saliva.
Oral Cancer – The oral cancer is formed in the oral cavity that includes the lips, the inner lining of the lips, cheeks, teeth, gums, tongue, floor and roof of the mouth. This type of cancer is one of the most common cancer among men.
Oropharyngeal Cancer – This type of cancer is formed in the oropharynx. It includes the base of tongue, back of the mouth, tonsils, side as well as the back walls of the throat. Continuous use of tobacco and alcohol increases the risk of oropharyngeal cancer.
Common symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer
The symptoms of head and neck cancer can vary and mostly depend on the type of cancer. Below are some of the common symptoms that occur:
- Chronic sinus infection
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Change in voice or hoarseness
- Continuous pain in neck, throat or jaw
- Ringing ears, ear pain or difficulty in hearing
- A sore or blister that does not heal
Treatment for head and neck cancer
The treatment of head and neck cancer depends on various factors such as:
- The type of cancer
- Size and location of the tumor
- Patient’s age and medical history
- The extent to which cancer has spread
Below are the treatment methods that can be used with respect to the type of cancer.
This type of cancer is majorly treated with the surgery which may or may not be followed by radiation therapy alone or combined with chemotherapy.
The pharyngeal cancer treatment involves
- Radiation therapy
- Chemotherapy therapy or
- Combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy therapy
- Laryngeal cancer is treated with surgery or radiation therapy
- Advanced laryngeal cancer is treated with first surgery and then radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy is given in order to reduce the chances of cancer to come back.
Salivary gland cancer
In the case of Salivary gland, cancer surgery is used to remove the lymph nodes which may or may not be followed by the radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.
Nasal or paranasal sinus cancer
Surgery is used to remove the lymph nodes in order to treat the Nasal or paranasal sinus cancer. The surgery can also be followed by radiation therapy with or without chemotherapy.