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HEAD AND NECK CANCER



Malignant tumors primarily detected in the paranasal sinuses, oral cavity, salivary glands, pharynx and larynx (this category does not include skin cancer, thyroid cancer and brain tumors), and with a number of factors in common as regards origin and treatment. Head and neck tumors account for around 5% of all cancers and most are linked to excessive consumption of alcohol and tobacco. Some cases may be linked to chronic HPV (human papiloma virus) infection. Head and neck tumors are usually detected in persons of 60 years old or more; most frequently in men, although incidence in women is on the rise.

Our goal is to achieve the best treatment for head and neck cancer according to the genetic characteristics of each patient’s tumor.

SYMPTOMS of head and neck cancer
The symptoms of head and neck cancers may include a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing or any changes in or hoarseness of the voice. Other less serious conditions may also cause the same symptoms.

Specific areas of the head or neck affected by head and neck cancer are:
• Oral cavity.
• Pharynx.
• Larynx.
• Paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity.
• Salivary glands.

DIAGNOSTIC TESTS to detect head and neck cancer
To determine the cause of a problem affecting the area of the head and neck, your doctor will review your medical history, perform a physical examination and orders diagnostic tests. These may vary depending on the symptoms. It is always necessary to examine a tissue sample under the microscope to confirm a diagnosis of cancer.

If cancer is diagnosed, the doctor will determine the stage (extent) of the disease. Staging is a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Staging sometimes requires examination of the patient under anesthetic (in an operating room), x-rays or other procedures including scans and laboratory analysis.
 
Once the disease stage has been established, doctor can begin to plan the treatment.

 

TREATMENTS for head and neck cancer
The treatment plan for each patient depends on a number of factors, such as the exact location of the tumor, disease stage, age and general state of health of the patient. Treatment for head and neck cancer may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of treatments.

People who are diagnosed with oropharyngeal cancer caused by HPV are treated differently from those with oropharyngeal cancer that is not caused by HPV.

New types of treatment are being investigated in clinical trials: radiosensitizers, hyperfractionated radiotherapy, hyperthermia therapy, chemoprevention.