Symptoms and head and neck cancer treatment options depend upon the type of cancer, location, spread, and tissue type involved. The symptoms of these cancers can range from an unhealing, painful sore in the mouth or throat to a lump in the neck, difficulty in swallowing or hoarseness of the voice. Since these symptoms may be seen in other non-cancerous conditions as well, it is recommended that you visit your doctor or dentist for an evaluation.
Symptoms of some head and neck cancers include:
The diagnostic tests recommended for head and neck cancer depends upon the type of cancer your doctor suspects, results of your early medical tests done, your signs and symptoms, age and overall health.
Tests recommended to diagnose head, and neck cancers are:
After evaluating your lab tests, diagnostic reports, and your symptoms, the oncologist will determine how to treat head and neck cancer. The standard of care for these cancers includes– surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, immunotherapy and combination therapy. Your doctor may recommend you sign up for a clinical trial (a research study that tests a new approach or drug for treating cancer).
Many head and neck cancers can be completely cured if detected early. The primary goal of treatment is to eliminate cancer. However, due to the large number of structures in the head and neck region, preserving the nerves, muscles and other tissues is important. When it is impossible to remove the entire tumour with surgery, additional treatments like radiation or chemotherapy may be required. Stage 3 and stage 4 head and neck cancer have a high chance of recurrence after treatment compared to early stages.