How Are Head And Neck Cancers Diagnosed
Sometimes changes in the mouth, neck or nose are seen during a routine visit to the doctor or dentist. But in many cases, patients will go to their doctor to treat one of the symptoms that is causing problems without realizing it was cancer. If the general practitioner or dentist isnt able to identify the cause of the issue they may refer the patient to visit to an ENT, which is a doctor who focuses on diseases of the ear, nose, and throat.
To find the cause of the signs or symptoms of a problem in the head and neck area, an oncologist doctor evaluates a persons medical history, performs a physical examination, and orders diagnostic tests. Exams and tests may vary depending on the symptoms, the type of cancer suspected, your age and medical condition, and the results of earlier medical tests.
The doctor will ask questions about your health and conduct a physical exam. If signs are pointing to head or neck cancer, more tests will be done. Some of the tests you may need include:
Head and neck cancers are classified according to the part of the body in which they occur. Some types of head and neck cancers you could be diagnosed with can include:
- Throat cancers such as laryngeal cancer , hypopharyngeal cancer , and oropharyngeal cancer
- Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Oral cancer
If the diagnosis is cancer, your doctor will then go on to learn the extent of the disease.
Prevention And Screenings To Help Detect Head And Neck Cancer Early
Getting regular oral screening of your mouth, tongue and gums may help find oral cancer early, when it is most treatable. Talk with your doctor and dentist about prevention and screenings that are right for you, based on your age, family history, smoking history and other risk factors. In addition to screenings, talk to your doctor about any symptoms you are experiencing, such as problems swallowing, problems breathing or speaking, pain or blood in your mouth or gums, concerns about a lump or thickening in your mouth, nose or on your tongue, or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
Prolonged use of alcohol and of all types of tobacco are risk factors for developing oral cancer. Most cancers in the oropharynx are linked to the human papillomavirus , a sexually transmitted virus that can be prevented through vaccination. If you have been previously diagnosed with cancer or are in remission, screenings may be an ongoing part of your cancer care. If you need help finding a doctor, start here.
Head And Neck Cancer Clinical Trials
In addition to state-of-the-art treatment options, our physicians also conduct clinical trials. Our participation in research trials allows for a better understanding of what leads to head and neck cancer and helps us translate this knowledge into new treatment strategies.
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The Following Tests May Be Used To Diagnose Or Stage Oral Cavity Cancer:
Physical exam of the lips and oral cavity: An exam to check the lips and oral cavity for abnormal areas. The doctor or dentist will feel the entire inside of the mouth with a gloved finger and examine the oral cavity with a small long-handled mirror and lights. This will include checking the insides of the cheeks and lips the gums the roof and floor of the mouth and the top, bottom, and sides of the tongue. The neck will be felt for swollen lymph nodes. A history of the patients health habits and past illnesses and medical and dental treatments will also be taken.Ultrasound: A non-invasive imaging procedure, which uses sound waves to create a high-quality picture of the throat and neck, as well as to detect enlarged lymph nodes.Endoscopy: A procedure to look at organs and tissues inside the body to check for abnormal areas. An endoscope is inserted through an incision in the skin or opening in the body, such as the mouth. An endoscope is a thin, tube-like instrument with a light and a lens for viewing. It may also have a tool to remove tissue or lymph node samples, which are checked under a microscope for signs of disease.
If Treatment Does Not Work
Recovery from head and neck cancer is not always possible. If the cancer cannot be cured or controlled, the disease may be called advanced or terminal.
This diagnosis is stressful, and for some people, advanced cancer is difficult to discuss. However, it is important to have open and honest conversations with your health care team to express your feelings, preferences, and concerns. The health care team has special skills, experience, and knowledge to support patients and their families and is there to help. Making sure a person is physically comfortable, free from pain, and emotionally supported is extremely important.
People who have advanced cancer and who are expected to live less than 6 months may want to consider hospice care. Hospice care is designed to provide the best possible quality of life for people who are near the end of life. You and your family are encouraged to talk with the health care team about hospice care options, which include hospice care at home, a special hospice center, or other health care locations. Nursing care and special equipment can make staying at home a workable option for many families. Learn more about advanced cancer care planning.
After the death of a loved one, many people need support to help them cope with the loss. Learn more about grief and loss.
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Are There Any New Developments In Treating My Disease
Some new treatments are available, as are new ways of combining old treatments. A good example of the latter is the use in recent years of a combination of radiation therapy and chemotherapy or immunotherapy for advanced head and neck cancer. For updated information on new cancer treatments that are available, you should discuss these issues with your doctor and consider obtaining a second opinion before beginning treatment.
What Is Nasal Cavity And Paranasal Sinus Cancer
Nasal cavity cancer forms in the nasal passageway, the space behind your nose located just above the roof of the mouth where mucus is produced. Paranasal sinus cancer forms in the sinus passages, which are a network of tunnels or air cavities in the face.
New nose bleeds or persistent nasal obstruction without a history of allergies are the first signs of these rare tumors.
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Services We Provide For Head And Neck Cancer Patients
Our team of head and neck cancer specialists offers individualized care tailored to each patients unique situation. Highlights of our program include:
- Six fellowship-trained head and neck oncologic and reconstructive surgeons one of the largest head and neck surgical oncology groups in the country
- Advanced imaging tests that are reviewed by radiologists who have special expertise in head and neck cancer
- The ability to perform reconstructive surgery at the same time we perform surgery to remove the cancer
- Experience with transoral robotic surgery and transoral laser microsurgery , two state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical techniques for head and neck cancer
- Medical oncologists and radiation oncologists who provide customized cancer care, from immunotherapy to leading-edge radiation therapy
- Robust support services that include dentistry support, oncology nutrition, and support groups
- Partnership with the UT Southwestern facial reanimation team, a world-class program that treats facial paralysis
- Clinical trials that often give head and neck cancer patients access to leading-edge treatments that are not yet widely available
Head And Neck Cancer Risk Factors
Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and the human papillomavirus can increase the risk of many types of head and neck cancer. Treatment and prognosis is based on what type of head and neck cancer is present and what stage it is.
Optim Oncology offers an integrated team-oriented approach to provide you with the best possible care. We are also eager to explain the facts and answer your questions at every step along the way.
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Radiation Therapy For Head And Neck Cancer
Our experienced radiation oncologists use the latest precision radiation therapy technologies to help spare healthy tissues and reduce side effects. These technologies include:
3D conformal therapy: A technique that matches radiation to a tumors shape to more precisely target cancer while sparing surrounding tissues.
Intensity modulated radiation therapy : An external beam radiation technique that precisely targets cancerous tumors and tissues.
Stereotactic body radiotherapy : A therapy that uses several beams of high-dose radiation to more precisely target a tumor from various angles.
Image-guided radiation therapy : A type of radiation therapy that uses imaging to target tumors more precisely.
High-dose rate brachytherapy: A procedure that places high-dose radioactive pellets, known as seeds, in or near a tumor.
Meet Our Specialists Rajarsi Mandal Md
Dr. Mandal is a head and neck cancer surgeon with expertise in the surgical treatment of benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, including the upper aerodigestive tract, salivary glands, thyroid and parathyroid glands, and skin. He also serves as Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Immunotherapy Research Program at the Johns Hopkins University/Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. He has specific interest in the treatment and research of advanced head and neck cancers with immune-based therapies. His research efforts involve understanding the genetic and immunologic basis for response to immunotherapy to better personalize immunotherapy cancer care for patients with head and neck cancer.
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Multidisciplinary Cancer Care Team
Patients with head and neck cancer may have one or more types of treatment, including surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and targeted therapies.
The involvement of a multidisciplinary cancer care team is required. This team brings together health care professionals from different specialties to discuss a patients cancer diagnosis and staging, and their treatment options. It also enhances communication and care co-ordination between the specialists involved in a patients care.
Australian and international studies state that patients overseen by a multidisciplinary cancer care team experience better outcomes after cancer treatment.
Head And Neck Cancer Care From Ent Specialists
When you choose cancer centers and ear, nose and throat clinics at Ascension sites of care, you get a care team that is part of a national network. Our experienced cancer doctors share best practices and the latest in cancer treatment and research bringing the best of cancer care to you. Every appointment with your oncologist or ENT care team starts with a compassionate conversation. Your doctor answers your questions and gets to know you. So, you get a personalized cancer care plan. And with a plan, comes hope. We will help you navigate your care and will be by your side every step of the way, connecting the dots. Our goal is to help you get back to home, family, life and self sooner.
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Head And Neck Cancers
Vanderbilts Head and Neck Cancers team works together to provide a precise diagnosis and the most effective treatment options, including minimally invasive surgery and targeted radiation therapy. We combine advanced research, technology and techniques with compassionate care to create a personalized treatment plan that is right for you. Our team also works closely with experts in other disciplines to ensure that you receive the best possible care.
We treat all head and neck cancers, including:
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- Lip and oral cavity cancer
- checkmark icon Metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary
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- Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer
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What Is Hypopharyngeal Cancer
Hypopharyngeal cancer is a form of throat cancer that starts in the lower part of the throat. The hypopharynx is located at the entrance of your esophagus, behind your voice box.
People who smoke or use tobacco are at risk of developing throat cancer. Drinking too much alcohol over a long time also increases risk. Smoking and drinking alcohol combined lead to an increased risk for throat cancer.
Most throat cancers develop in adults older than 50. Men are more likely than women to develop throat cancer. Most patients report a palpable lump in the neck or difficulty swallowing or speaking as the first sign of having a hypopharyngeal cancer.
Specialized Multidisciplinary Approach To Head And Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers include cancer of the mouth, tongue, throat, larynx, nose, and nasal cavity. Most are squamous cell carcinomas, which means they begin in the flat cells that make up the outer surface of the skin or tissues of the head and neck region. Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and human papillomavirus are the main causes of head and neck cancer.
Head and neck cancers can also include salivary gland cancer, thyroid cancer, and other cancers involving the head and neck such as melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, and sarcoma.
UT Southwestern Medical Centers integrated team of head and neck cancer specialists treats only head and neck cancer, giving us a level of expertise that is on par with top U.S. cancer programs. Our radiation and medical oncologists, oral and reconstructive surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, and speech pathologists collaborate closely on each case, ensuring that every patient benefits from the combined knowledge of all specialties.
List Of Private Specialist Centres For Complex Head And Neck Cancer Surgery
Local health district
Annual average complex head and neck resection caseload
St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Darlinghurst
100 – 150
*Private specialists centres listed have given permission to be included on the Cancer Institute NSW website.
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Excellence In Cancer Care
As a top cancer center, we treat more head and neck cancers than any hospital in the region. Our providers are experts in the complex systems of the head and neck.
Experience: Our surgeons perform hundreds of head and neck cancer procedures a year. Theyre also fellowship-trained meaning they had at least a year of advanced training at centers such as Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
Expertise: Our neurosurgeons pioneered a surgical technique that avoids the delicate structures of the head and neck. Our team also includes surgeons who are experts in microvascular surgery. This offers the most options for reconstructive procedures.
National recognition: Weve earned the National Cancer Institutes top designation for leadership in research and were consistently ranked among the best cancer hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report.
How Is Yale Medicine’s Approach To Treating Head And Neck Cancer Unique
The head and neck cancer team at Yale Medicine comprises nationally and internationally renowned experts in the fields of head and neck surgery, radiation oncology, medical oncology, plastic and reconstructive surgery, oral and maxillofacial surgery, dentistry, pathology, radiology, speech language pathology and swallowing/voice therapy. These specialists focus only on the management of head and neck cancers.
Research has shown that the best treatment plans and long-term outcomes for head and neck cancers come from multidisciplinary evaluations. Yale Medicine coordinates evaluations with patients expert team so they have the most comprehensive and personalized treatment plan.
Being a world-class center, we are always thinking of ways to enhance the experience for our patients by decreasing treatment-related morbidity and improving outcomes, says Dr. Bhatia. We engage in cutting-edge science, as well as lead and participate in several clinical trials testing safer and more effective strategies for head and neck cancer treatment.
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Welcome Tohead & Neck Surgical Cancer Specialists Of Sw Florida
Head & Neck Surgical Cancer Specialists of SW Florida is dedicated exclusively to the management of head and neck cancer. We manage all types of head and neck lesions including malignant and benign tumors of the mouth, tongue, throat, larynx, neck, salivary glands, thyroid, parathyroid, and skin.
Our surgeons are fellowship trained in plastic and reconstructive surgery, including microvascular free tissue transfer. With each operation, we strive not only to remove your cancer, but also maximize important functions such as speech and swallowing, as well as provide an excellent cosmetic appearance.
We realize that dealing with head and neck cancer can be an extremely stressful and overwhelming process. Feel confident that all of our staff members are dedicated to you achieving a full and speedy recovery.