Occurrence of head and neck cancer varies according to the genetic characteristics, living conditions and habits of the person. In particular, the person's habit of smoking has an important contribution to the occurrence of these tumors. However, the symptoms caused by cancers in the head and neck region can be recognized at an early stage, and therefore treatment with a high success rate can be achieved.
Head and neck cancers refer to various cancer formations that occur in the neck and head region of the body. These cancers are named according to the region of involvement. For example, oral cancer; includes the palate, lips, cheeks, gums, and floor of the mouth. Neck or throat cancer is also used in some cases for cancers of the esophagus, nasopharynx and larynx. Head and neck cancers can be listed as follows according to the region where they occur:
- Nasopharyngeal cancer
- Oral cavity cancer
- Laryngeal cancer
- Cancer of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity
- Salivary gland cancer
Risk factors for cancers that occur in the head and neck region can be listed as age, gender, smoking and alcohol use in general. In addition, environmental factors and eating habits of the person are also determinative. Genetics and family structure are also among the determining factors.
Symptoms of neck and throat cancer can be listed as follows:
- Swelling in the head and neck area
- Swelling around the eyes
- Numbness or tingling in the mouth
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Some sores in the mouth, tongue and lips
- Ear pain, ringing or decreased hearing
Treatment is planned differently for each patient. The stage and location of the tumor, the age of the patient and the general condition of the patient are decisive in making this plan. In the treatment planned according to these determining factors, surgical procedure, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or double and triple combinations of these methods can be applied to the patient.
In surgical treatment, the cancerous tissue or organ in the body is removed. This treatment method is mostly used in cases where the cancer does not spread. Surgical methods are also employed in conjunction with other treatment methods in cases of spread. In chemotherapy treatment, chemicals are given to the patient to destroy cancer cells. This method, which affects the whole body, is used for cases where cancer cells have metastasized. Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, can be used alone or as a combined therapy. In this treatment, cancer cells are tried to be destroyed by radiation. The first step in the implementation of all these treatment methods is to determine the stages of head and neck cancer. These stages are:
• Stages 1 and 2: Cancer cells are small and surgery is sufficient at this stage. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy may also be used to prevent metastasis.
• Stages 3 and 4: At these stages, cancer cells may have spread to surrounding tissues and lymph nodes. For this reason, it is usually aimed to treat cancer by applying combined treatment with surgery and radiotherapy, or additionally with chemotherapy.