Symptoms of head and neck cancer include sore throat, speech problems, ear pain, and hearing loss. Cancer is a type of disease where the cells in the body rapidly grow. Head and neck cancer typically starts from multiple areas in the head and throat. Excluding the cancer of the brain and the eyes. To determine if your symptoms are indeed related to oral cancer, book an appointment at Bright Dental Group’s clinic in Glenmore Park
Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer
Refer to the list below if you are suspecting that you are exhibiting signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer:
- sore throat
- double vision
- feeling weak in the head or somewhere in the neck
- jaw pain
- ear pain
- trouble breathing
- changes in voice
- a lump in the neck
- swelling that seems to last forever
- white or red patches inside the mouth
- a significant amount of blood in the saliva
- sudden weight loss
- infection in the ears
- teeth become loose (a denture clinic can help with teeth that become loose and need extraction)
If you are experiencing a majority of these symptoms, talk to your doctor immediately. Explain the noticeable changes in your health, specifically the changes in your head and neck. Take note of the severity of each symptom and remember when they started. Your doctor will most likely ask you questions to come up with an accurate diagnosis.
Head and neck cancer is commonly caused by excessive tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Therefore, cigarretes, e-cigars, pipes, and even smokeless tobacco greatly connect to the growing population of patients with head and neck cancers. TObacco and alcohol can harm your teeth and mouth too.
Furthermore, all kinds of alcohol, including wine, whisky, or beer, can also cause cancers in the throat, voice box, and mouth.
HPV or human papillomavirus is also a contributor to head and neck cancer. Data shows that 70% of patients with cancers in the oropharynx are also exhibiting symptoms of HPV.
Moreover, too much exposure to UV light can also trigger head and neck cancers. Recent research has proven that tanning beds are a risk factor for mouth cancer alone.
Occupations with constant exposure to harmful chemicals also promote head and neck symptoms. Those who are working in construction, logging, textiles, and ceramic industries are at higher risk of getting head and neck cancer as well.
You can avoid the symptoms by avoiding the following risk factors:
- Smoking. Reduce your use of cigarettes, if possible, totally quit smoking.
- Never use products such as smokeless tobacco.
- Avoid drinking too much alcohol.
- Get vaccinated against HPV. Local communities are promoting HPV vaccinations to control its rapid spread and maintain a healthy community.
- If you are sexually active, be sure to use protection. This is most important for people with multiple partners.
- Avoid tanning salons and wear something that will protect your mouth, such as lip balm with sunscreen.
- Visit your dentist regularly. The ideal routine dental checkup is every six months.
- Practice an annual physical exam with your physician.
- Age. Unfortunately, some types of cancers take years before they get diagnosed. For instance, mouth cancer patients are most often diagnosed only after reaching the age of 40.
Thankfully, there are several ways to treat cancer. Listed below are the common treatments used by health care providers for their patients:
The goal of the surgery is to remove the cancer tumor and some of the affected surrounding tissues. This type of treatment comes in different forms, such as laser technology, neck dissection, reconstructive surgery, and excision.
This non-invasive treatment uses high-powered X-rays to knock down cancer cells. Radiation therapy usually requires several visits and multiple sessions until the desired number of destroyed cells is achieved. Sometimes, radiation therapy follows the surgical treatment for optimum results.
Therapy and medication
This type of treatment is a combination of therapy and prescribed medication. The medicines are given to the patient by injecting them into the bloodstream. In some cases, patients need to swallow the capsule.
Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that focuses on specific genes of the patient. The idea is to interfere with the growth of the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading.
This type of treatment for head and neck cancer is designed to enhance the patient’s immunity and boost their body’s defense against cancer. Ideally, the doctor will target the patient’s immune system and work his way from there.
Cancer can put you in life-threatening situations if left untreated. Moreover, it could also affect an individuals mental health. If you are a cancer patient, there are several support groups you can join to help you stay positive emotionally and spiritually.
Head and Neck Cancer: Symptoms and Signs (https://www.cancer.net/cancer-types/head-and-neck-cancer/symptoms-and-signs) October 2019
Head and Neck Cancers (https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/headneck/index.htm) October 2020