Head & Neck cancers refer to a group of heterogeneous and varied cancers originating in the head and neck region. They are amongst the commonest cancers in the Indian sub-continent. The treatment of such cancers is challenging due to the complex anatomy and several important structures lying within the close proximity.
They occur predominantly due to tobacco and alcohol usage. Both smoked and chewable forms of tobacco can cause these cancers. Besides these, betel nut (supari), pan masala, certain viruses like HPV (human papilloma virus) and EBV (Epstein barr virus), UV rays and certain occupational exposures like wood dust are also responsible for causing head and neck cancers.
The symptoms of these cancers depend upon the site where they arise from. Oral cancers may be associated with oral ulcer or swelling, loose tooth, bleeding and neck lump. Throat cancer may cause difficulty in swallowing, referred pain to ears and neck swelling. Voice box cancers may be additionally associated with voice change and breathing difficulty. Nasal and paranasal sinus tumours may cause nasal obstruction, bleeding, loss of smell, eye bulge, etc. Thyroid and salivary gland cancers may be associated with neck swelling.
Cancers if detected early is curable. Surgery is one of the main treatment option for head and neck cancers. The goal of surgery is to preserve healthy cells and remove the cancerous cells from the affected area with a proper margin all around; this is the balance we want to achieve through the surgery. Your Head & Neck Oncosurgeon will do everything possible to minimize the effect of treatment on your speech, swallowing and appearance.