Head & Neck Cancer
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Head & Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer is a terminology used to describe cancer that develops in the mouth, salivary glands, nose, throat, oral cancers or any other areas of the head and neck. Majority of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas or cancers that initiate in the lining of the nose, mouth and throat. The major cause being the consumption of tobacco along with a combination of tobacco and alcohol.
What are the Head & Neck Cancer Treatment options?
- Immunotherapy: Drugs called checkpoint inhibitors are designed to assist the body’s system to identify and kill tumor cells. These drugs work by disrupting signalling proteins that allow cancer cells to disguise themselves from the system. Immunotherapy might not be an accustomed treat all patients and responses to the treatment may vary. Immunotherapy can also be utilized in combination with other cancer treatments.
- Surgery: Surgery is usually the first-line treatment option for head and neck cancers. Some patients could also be treated with surgery alone; for other patients, combining head and neck cancer surgery with radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy could also be appropriate.
- Targeted therapies: These are drugs designed to block the development and spread of cancer by attacking specific proteins and preventing cancer cells from dividing or by destroying them directly. One potential target in head and neck cancer is the epidermal growth factor receptor, or EGFR, which could be a protein found on the surface of the many types of cancer cells. Your doctor may suggest using an EGFR-targeted drug together with chemotherapy or radiotherapy for head and neck cancers, such as laryngeal or hypopharyngeal cancer.
- Chemotherapy: These treatments for head and neck cancer are typically reserved for patients whose cancer has metastasized to the bones or elsewhere within the body.
- Radiation therapy: This treatment delivers high doses of radiation to tumor cells within the head and neck using technology designed to scale back damage to healthy tissue and organs. By focusing the radiation directly on the tumor, these therapies may reduce the risk of common side effects related to head and neck cancer treatment.
What are the Signs and symptoms of Head & Neck Cancer?
A lump in nose, neck or throat, with or without pain
- A persistent sore throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Frequent coughing
- Change in voice or hoarseness
- Ear pain or trouble hearing
- A red or white patch within the mouth
- Nasal obstruction or persistent congestion
- Frequent nose bleeds or unusual discharge
- Trouble breathing
What are the Types of Head & Neck Cancer ?
- Laryngeal cancer
- Nasopharyngeal cancer
- Hypopharyngeal cancer
- Nasal cavity and sinus paranasales cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Oral cancer
- Oropharyngeal cancer
- Tonsil cancer
Head & Neck cancer has five main Types :
- Stage 1: The tumor is simply growing within the part of the head and neck where it started. No cancer cells are present in deeper layers of tissue, nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites.
- Stage 2: The primary tumor is 2 cm across or smaller, and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites.
- Stage 3: The head and neck tumor measure 2-4 cm across and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites.
- Stage4: The tumor fits one of the subsequent criteria:
- It is larger than 4 cm across, and no cancer cells are present in nearby structures, lymph nodes or distant sites.
- It is any size but has not grown into nearby structures or distant sites. However, cancer cells are present in one lymph node, which is found on the same side of the head or neck because the primary tumor is smaller than 3 cm across.
- Stage 5: This stage has several categories:
- Stage 5.1: One amongst the subsequent applies:
- The head and neck cancer tumor is any size and is growing into nearby structures. Cancer cells might not be present within the lymph nodes, or they’ll have spread to at least one lymph gland, which is found on an equivalent side of the head or neck because the primary tumor is smaller than 3 cm across. Cancer has not spread to distant sites
- The tumor is any size might have or might not have invaded nearby structures. it’s not spread to distant sites, and one among the subsequent is true:
- Cancer cells are present in one lymph node, located on a similar side of the head or neck as the primary tumor and measuring 3-6 cm across.
- Cancer cells are present in one lymph node on the alternative side of the head or neck and measure less than 6 cm across.
- Cancer cells are present in two or more lymph nodes, all smaller than 6 cm across and located on either side of the head or neck.
- Stage 5.2: One amongst the subsequent applies:
- The tumor has invaded deeper areas and/or tissues. it’s going to or might not have spread to lymph nodes and has not spread to distant sites.
- The tumor is any size and should or might not have grown into other structures. It spread to at least one or more lymph nodes larger than 6 cm across but has not spread to distant sites
- Stage 5.3: Cancer cells have spread to distant sites.
- Stage 5.1: One amongst the subsequent applies:
The head and neck cancer tumor is any size and should or might not have spread to the lymph nodes.
How is Head & Neck Cancer Diagnosed?
- Indirect pharyngoscopy and laryngoscopy: During an indirect pharyngoscopy and laryngoscopy, small mirrors are placed at the rear of the mouth to examine the throat, at the bottom of the tongue and a part of the larynx.
- Endoscopy: This procedure allows looking at the top and neck area from the within. An endoscope is inserted within the mouth or nose so on examine hard-to-see areas of the top and neck, just like the larynx and behind the nose.
- Panendoscopy: Panendoscopy is a diagnostic test won’t to examine the upper gastrointestinal system. If tumors are identified during the procedure, samples may be removed for biopsy.
- Biopsy: A biopsy is that a single test which provides a definitive diagnosis during which the sample of the tissue or cell is collected for biopsy.
The types of biopsies:
- Incisional biopsy
- Fine needle aspiration (FNA)
- X-rays: Images of the chest may be taken to spot whether cancer has spread to the lungs. Cancer mostly is not present in the lungs unless it has advanced.
- Barium swallow: This test is used to identify irregularities in the larynx, pharynx, mouth and surrounding areas, and is most often used to detect small, early head and neck tumors.
- Imaging tests:
Imaging tests that are used to diagnose head and neck cancer include:
- Computed tomography (CT) scan:
- A CT scan may provide information about the size, shape and position of the tumor, and may help identify enlarged lymph nodes to determine whether they contain cancer cells.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI):
- An MRI may be used to identify signs of cancer.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan:
- PET scan is used to identify if cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and also to spot the position of the cancer.