Introduction: What is Head and Neck Cancer?
Head and neck malignancies are a unique group of cancers that arise in the head and neck region, especially the throat, larynx (voice box), mouth, nose and sinuses. Depending upon the location of the tumour, head and neck cancers can be of the following types:
These are a miscellaneous group because cancers that develop in the mouth are very different from those in the nose. Squamous cell carcinoma is one of the most common head and neck cancers and arises from the inner surfaces of the mouth, nose or throat.
Squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck region are associated with smoking and exposure to Human Papilloma Virus(HPV). Other less common head and neck cancers are salivary gland tumours, lymphomas and sarcomas.
Head and neck cancers are usually diagnosed and treated by dentists and oral and maxillofacial surgeons who notice a lump or non-healing sore in the mouth or the back of the throat. The signs and symptoms of these cancers depend upon the tumour’s location and its extent of spread.
How Is Head and Neck Cancer Treated?
After thoroughly evaluating your signs, symptoms, and diagnostic test reports, your oncologist and multidisciplinary healthcare team will determine how to treat head and neck cancer. Several treatment options are available, and the choice of treatment depends upon factors like the type and location of cancer and its extent of spread.
Standard treatment options for head and neck cancers are:
Surgical removal of the cancerous tissue or the affected part is the first line of treatment for head and neck cancers. If nearby lymph nodes are involved, your doctor may remove them during the surgery. Surgery is usually performed before or after radiation and chemotherapy.
This therapy uses strong x-rays or other radiations to kill or damage cancer cells. Radiation therapy is used with surgery or chemotherapy for treating head and neck cancers. If the tumour is large, radiation therapy may help shrink its size, enabling easy surgical removal. In advanced stages of head and neck cancers, radiation therapy relieves symptoms and improves the quality of life.
The use of potent anticancer drugs to destroy cancer cells is called chemotherapy. In head and neck cancer treatment, chemotherapy is often used with surgery, radiation therapy or both. The type or combination of drugs used depends upon the type and stage of cancer.
Though chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells, these drugs also damage healthy cells, resulting in side effects. Targeted drug therapy uses drugs that can identify cancer cells by the chemicals or proteins they produce. Due to this, targeted drug therapy treatment causes fewer side effects.
This biological therapy uses drugs to stimulate an individual’s immune system to fight cancer cells.
Your doctor may recommend enrolling in clinical trials if they feel it may benefit you. Several head and neck cancers can be cured if diagnosed early. Advanced-stage cancers have a high recurrence rate.
In many cases, head and neck cancer treatment is followed by reconstructive surgery to restore the function and aesthetics of the tissues removed during treatment. Rehabilitation therapy for speech and swallowing is recommended in some individuals.
How Can Klarity Oncology Help?
At Klarity Oncology, we aim to redefine cancer care using advanced technology and deliver high-quality care through our innovative platform. We have a dedicated patient care team that will support you throughout your head and neck cancer journey.
From helping you book appointments with a private oncologist near you to priority consultations for a second opinion with the top head and neck oncologist in the UK, we’ve got you covered. At Klarity, we aim to empower patients to take charge of their treatments and be confident about their choices.
With Klarity, you are never alone!
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Cost in the UK
Head and neck cancer treatment cost in the UK is affordable compared to the treatment cost for several rare cancers. Your treatment cost will depend upon your cancer type and stage, where you choose to undergo treatment (private or public establishment), medications and insurance cover. While most insurance providers cover cancer treatment, you should check with your provider. The cost of treating early-stage head and neck cancer is lesser than that for advanced-stage cancers.
How Is Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Cost Calculated?
Head and neck treatment cost varies for each individual and depends upon several factors, including:
Your doctor will give you a rough estimate of your treatment cost. However, you must always make arrangements for more than the estimate to cover additional expenses during your treatment.
Talk to Us
It is crucial to have as much information as possible about your cancer. This will help you make informed decisions about your treatment options and understand the side effects and how to manage them effectively. We understand the complexity of cancer care. From appointments to second opinions and personalised cancer treatments, we are here for you. Talk to us today!