Treatments

Head and Neck

Head and Neck cancer refers to a group of biologically similar cancer that starts in the lip, oral cavity(mouth), nasal cavity(inside the nose), paranasal sinuses, pharynx and laryngx including the Thyroid and Parathyroid.

Presenting symptoms include

  • Mass in the neck
  • Neck pain
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Sinus congestion, especially with nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Bad breath
  • Sore tongue
  • Painless ulcer or sores in the mouth that do not heal
  • White, red or dark patches in the mouth that will not go away
  • Earache
  • Unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Lump in the lip, mouth or gums
  • Enlarged lymph glands in the neck
  • Slurring of speech (if the cancer is affecting the tongue)
  • Hoarse voice which persists for more than six weeks
  • Sore throat which persists for more than six weeks
  • Difficulty swallowing food
  • Change in diet or weight loss

Surgery

Surgery as a treatment is frequently used in most types of head and neck cancer. Usually the goal is to remove the cancerous cells entirely. Surgery is also commonly used to remove some or all of the cervical lymph nodes to prevent further spread of the disease.

CO2 laser surgery is also another form of treatment. Transoral laser microsurgery is used to remove tumors from the voice box with no external incisions. It also allows access to tumors that are not reachable with robotic surgery. A microscope helps the surgeon clearly view the margins of the tumor, minimizing the amount of normal tissue removed or damaged during surgery. This technique helps give the patient as much speech and swallowing function as possible after surgery.

 

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