A group of cancers that starts near or in your mouth, throat, nose, voice box, or sinuses are known as Head and Neck cancer. It usually starts in the squamous cells that line the surfaces of these body parts.
Head and neck cancer can be categorized into five main types. The symptoms of each will be slightly different.
1. Oral cancer
It affects the inside of your mouth and lips. This includes:
The symptoms are:
2. Cancer of the Oropharynx
Your oropharynx includes the back of your tongue, your tonsils, and your soft palate (back of the roof of your mouth).
The symptoms are:
3. Larynx (voice box) cancer
It involves epiglottis and vocal cords.
4. Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses
The space inside your nose is your nasal cavity. The small spaces in the bones of your head around your nose are paranasal sinuses.
Signs to look out for are:
5. Salivary gland cancer
The salivary glands that make saliva are present within the oral cavity, near both ears, under the tongue and near the jaw bone.
The symptoms of salivary gland cancer are:
There are specific symptoms for each kind of head and neck cancer, but they show certain general symptoms too. They are:
Causes and Risks
Tobacco consumption, smoking, and even secondhand smoke raise your risk of getting head and neck cancer.
Drinking too much alcohol can also lead to this type of cancers.
Other things include:
Your doctor will look for lumps in your neck and inside your mouth, nose, and throat. You will be asked to get a few tests if the doctor finds any symptoms of a head or neck cancer.
The tests include:
The treatment depends on a few things, such as:
For head and neck cancer, the doctor may suggest a combination of treatments like surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and targeted therapy.
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