Head and Neck Cancer Treatment in Dubai at CMC
Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term used to refer to a variety of malignant tumors that form in or near the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth. Squamous cell carcinomas make up the majority of head and neck malignancies. The thin layer of tissue that covers the surface of the structures in the head and neck is made up of flat squamous cells, which is where this type of cancer starts.
Types of Head and Neck Cancers
- Hypopharyngeal cancer: Cancer that occurs at the bottom part of a person’s throat.
- Oral cancer: Cancer that develops in a person’s lips, tongue, gums, the lining of the cheeks and lips, and the top and bottom of the mouth.
- Laryngeal cancer: Cancer that develops in the vocal cords’ protective covering, the larynx.
- Salivary gland cancer: Cancer of the saliva-producing glands in the mouth
- Oropharyngeal cancer: Cancer occurring in the middle part of a person’s throat (oropharynx).
- Nasopharyngeal cancer: Cancer that develops on the upper part of the throat (nasopharyngeal).
- Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer: Cancer that develops in the nasal cavity, the gaps between the bones that surround the nose, or both (paranasal sinuses).
Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancers
- Hoarseness or voice changes
- Pain when chewing or swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent earaches
- Nosebleeds, bloody saliva, or phlegm
- A tongue sore that doesn’t heal
- Facial numbness
- Pain in the upper teeth
- A persistent sore throat
- Frequent headaches
Risk Factors of Head and Neck Cancers
- Using tobacco
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Human papillomavirus (HPV): Head and neck cancers linked to HPV infection are becoming more common, especially in younger adults.
- Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)
- Radiation exposure
- Diet: Consuming excessive amounts of salt-cured foods, such as meat and fish, can raise a person’s risk of developing nasopharyngeal cancer.
- Poor dental hygiene
Diagnosis of Head and Neck Cancers
A combination of exams and test are used in the diagnosis of head and neck cancers. These include:
Physical exam: The doctor will check the patient’s oral and nasal cavities, neck, throat, and tongue. He/she may also feel the patient’s neck, lips, gum, and cheeks for lumps.
An endoscopy: The procedure involves using a thin, lighted tube (endoscope) that will allow the doctor to see the patient’s nasal cavity, throat, voice box, or other areas where he/she is experiencing symptoms
Imaging tests: This includes head and neck X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, and PET scans. These tests create pictures of areas inside the head and neck.
Blood tests: Blood samples may be taken to test for viruses like HPV or EBV.
Biopsy: The procedure involves removing a sample tissue that a pathologist will examine under a microscope. Cancer cells will be checked in the sample.
Treatment for Head and Neck Cancers
Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are the three main treatments utilized in the treatment of head and neck cancer. Newer treatments like targeted therapy and immunotherapy may be recommended as well.
- Surgery: The tumor and a portion of the surrounding healthy tissue may be removed through surgery. If the surgeon believes cancer has progressed to the neck lymph nodes, these might also be removed.
- Radiation therapy: The procedure involves a machine that directs high-energy X-rays toward the patient’s tumor. One may also receive radiation alongside other treatments like surgery.
- Chemotherapy: It is most used form of treatment for severe cases of cancer. It uses a single or a combination of medication to kill cancer cells.
- Targeted therapy: This involves medication that target a specific type of cancer. When treating advanced head and neck cancers, they are most frequently used in conjunction with other treatments.
- Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy medications stimulate (or activate) a person’s immune system to better recognize and eliminate cells.