Head and neck cancer refers to cancer that develops in the mouth, throat, nose or other areas located in the head and neck.
Symptoms of this particular cancer really depends on the location of the tumour, however common symptoms may include:
- Persistent sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Frequent nose bleeds
- Change in voice
- Red or white patch on the mouth
Risk factors may include:
- Tobacco use
- HPV infection
- Poor oral hygiene
- Genetic factors
- Exposure to radiation in the head and neck area
Treatment of head and neck cancer varies and depends on the location and stage of the cancer. A multidisciplinary team comprising radiologists, oncologists and head and neck surgeons will discuss each case and decide which treatment options are optimal for every case.
Treatment of head and neck cancers may include medications to fight tumour cells and control growth of the tumour, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery.
Surgeries are usually carried out by head and neck surgeons known as maxillofacial and ear, nose and throat surgeons to remove the tumour and help reconstruct the affected area.