On average, 70,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, which includes cancers of the mouth, throat and larynx, according to Medicine Johns Hopkins. Men are more likely to get head and neck cancer and risk factors include smoking, chewing tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption. Health spoke with Dr Geoffrey Young, Head of the Head and Neck Cancer Surgery Department at Miami Cancer Institute, which is part of Baptist Health South Florida which explained the symptoms to look out for. Read on and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure signs you’ve already had COVID.
Dr. Young shares, “Head and neck cancers, in general, make up about 4% of the cancers we see in the United States each year. Historically, most cases of head and neck cancer have been linked to alcohol and tobacco use and to people aged 50 and over. Today, more and more cases are being diagnosed without these risk factors and are increasingly occurring in young people. At the Miami Cancer Institute, approximately 80% of cancers of the oropharynx (back of the throat, including the base of the tongue and tonsils) that we diagnose are caused by HPV. These cases have risen to epidemic levels in recent years and cause as many deaths each year as measles caused in the pre-vaccine era.
According to Dr. Young, “The good news is that the HPV vaccine should prevent cancers of the oropharynx. This has not yet been officially proven because not everyone vaccinated would be likely to develop cancers for 30 or more years. 40 years.” So, in theory, it may take decades before it’s proven. However, we don’t see as many cancer-causing HPV viruses circulating among people who have received the vaccine and I highly recommend the vaccine to anyone who is eligible (men and women ages 9-45). I got my HPV vaccine when I was 43 and recommend everyone get it. If you have something that can prevent cancer with minimal threat to your health, why not? As for other preventative measures, quit smoking now and reduce your alcohol intake.
“Some types of head and neck cancer have terrible survival (anaplastic thyroid cancer) and some types have great survival (HPV-related oropharyngeal cancer),” says Dr. Young. “Survival rates really vary depending on the type of head and neck cancer the patient has. If you are diagnosed with head or neck cancer, it is important to discuss this with your doctor as part of your multidisciplinary consultation.While there is no standard or routine screening test for head and neck cancers, it is important to see your primary care provider on a yearly basis.In addition, many dentists are screened for oral cancer and this should be checked at least once a year, during a routine visit.
Dr. Young shares: “There have been significant developments in surgery, radiotherapy and systemic therapy. These include transoral robotic surgery, targeted proton radiation and immunotherapy. All are changing the face of head and neck cancer with new protocols and upcoming clinical trials. out every day.”
“Although we see increased risk from alcohol, tobacco, and HPV exposure, everyone is at risk for head and neck cancer,” says Dr. Young.
Dr Young says: “The best way to prevent head and neck cancer is to not use tobacco products, limit alcohol consumption, limit sun exposure and get vaccinated against HPV.
“The treatment of head and neck cancer is very complex and a multidisciplinary consultation with head and neck surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology is often required,” says Dr. Young.
Dr Young explains: “Head and neck cancer is the general term used when cancerous cells form in many areas of the head and neck, including the mouth, nose and throat. There are many different types of head and neck cancer, each with its own symptoms.
– Voice changes (including hoarseness), difficulty or pain when swallowing, mass or lump in the neck, chronic sore throat or cough, difficulty breathing and unexplained weight loss.
–These are common symptoms of throat cancer. Symptoms of throat cancer can vary and often seem similar to symptoms of other chronic diseases. It is important to see your doctor if you experience any of these symptoms, especially if they last longer than two weeks.
– Mass or lump inside the mouth or on the neck, difficulty swallowing, blood in the saliva and pain in the ears.
–These can all be signs of oral cavity cancer. Oral cavity cancer, also known as oral cancer, is a type of head and neck cancer in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the lips or mouth. Oral cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer, with over 90% of oral cancers occurring in the cells that line the mouth, tongue and lips. Symptoms can often vary, so if you experience these symptoms, especially those that last longer than two weeks, it is important to see your doctor. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean you have oral cavity cancer, but if you are diagnosed with the disease and caught early, it is often highly treatable.
–Constant sinus pressure or blocked sinuses, frequent headaches in the sinus area, lump inside the nose, pressure or pain in the ear, pain in the upper teeth
–These are all common symptoms of nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer. Similar to other symptoms of head and neck cancer, it is advisable to see your doctor if any of these symptoms last longer than two weeks.
– Lump or swelling at the front of the neck, neck or ear pain, difficulty swallowing or breathing, change in tone of voice or hoarseness, chronic cough
–These are all symptoms of thyroid tumors. Thyroid cancer is the fastest growing cancer diagnosis in the United States, the fifth most common cancer in women, and the most common cancer in women ages 20-34. It is important to note that thyroid tumors rarely cause symptoms in their early stages, so if you experience these symptoms, especially if they last longer than two weeks, you should see your doctor. In the early stages, thyroid cancer responds well to treatment.
– Sore throat or persistent cough, difficulty swallowing or pain when swallowing, ear pain, lump in neck or throat, voice change or hoarseness, difficulty breathing, unexplained weight loss
–Laryngeal cancer (sometimes called voice box cancer or throat cancer) is highly treatable when diagnosed early. It is important to get tested for laryngeal cancer if you have any of these symptoms for more than two weeks. Although these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have laryngeal cancer, it is often highly treatable if detected early.
– Lump or pain in the neck or throat
–These may be symptoms of unknown head and neck cancers, which occur when cancerous squamous cells spread to the lymph nodes in the neck or around the collarbone. Squamous cells are found in many tissues of the body, including the skin, airways, and the lining of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, and look like fish scales. Cancer can grow in these cells and metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body through the blood or lymphatic system.”