HEAD & NECK CANCER

HEAD & NECK CANCER

Cancers are unique as compared to cancers which occur elsewhere in the human body as they can be easily detected by self examination and diagnosis can be achieved with minimal intervention. Since these cancers can be detected early , their prognosis is also good provided the appropriate treatment is administered at the earliest.

Dr. Shirish Patil

MBBS, MS ENT & HNS, Fellow HNS (RCC,Trivandrum)
Head and neck oncosurgeon
Belgaum, Karnataka

ORAL CANCER

The most common cancer in India. The usual causative factors include chewing of betel nut and tobacco. Also continuous irritation by a sharp tooth can cause it. It has a good prognosis when detected early. The usual symptoms include a non healing ulcer in the mouth which persists for more than 2-3 weeks inspite of adequate medical treatment.

THYROID CANCER

Mostly occurs in females. The most common symptom is the feeling of a vague node in the lower front neck which can be palpated with fingers. It is one the best forms of cancers to have. It does not affect the survival when detected early.

CANCER OF THE VOICE BOX ( Larynx)

Mostly seen in heavy smokers and alcoholics as the effect of the two together is super additive. This cancer is usually detected early as the first symptom is change in voice which persists for 2-3 weeks inspite of adequate medical treatment. Hence it has a very good prognosis.

SALIVARY GLAND CANCER (Parotid gland )

Occurs in both males and females. No specific causative agent. Usually detected early as the first symptom is a swelling below or infront of the ear. It has a good prognosis.

SKIN CANCER OF THE FACE AND SCALP

It is not very common among Indians . Usually occurs due to excessive exposure to sunlight without adequate melanin pigment in the skin. First symptom is an ulcer on the skin or scalp which persists for 2-3 weeks inspite of adequate medical treatment. Prognosis is good.

THROAT CANCER ( Pharynx)

Mostly occurs in males. Very common in heavy smokers and tobacco chewers. First symptom is usually difficulty in swallowing or a sensation of something sticking in the throat which persists inspite of drinking water.

Other cancers of the head and neck region include

– Nasopharyngeal cancer
– Nose and para nasal sinus cancers
– Skull base cancers
– Ear cancer/ Temporal bone cancer