Head and Neck Cancer: Introduction
“Head and neck cancer” is that the term wont to describe variety of various malignant tumors that develop in or round the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth.
Most head and neck cancers are epithelial cell carcinomas. This type of cancer begins within the flat squamous cells that structure the skinny layer of tissue on the surface of the structures within the head and neck. Directly beneath this lining, which is called the epithelium, some areas of the head and neck have a layer of moist tissue, called the mucosa. If a cancer is merely found within the squamous layer of cells, it's called carcinoma in place . If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into the deeper tissue, then it's called invasive epithelial cell carcinoma. If doctors cannot identify where the cancer began, it's called a cancer of unknown primary.
Types of head and neck cancer
1) Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.
2) Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer.
3) Nasopharyngeal cancer.
4) Oral and oropharyngeal cancer.
5) Salivary gland cancer.
Head and Neck Cancer: Risk Factors and Prevention
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the event of cancer, most don't directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop the disease, while others with no known risk factors do. Knowing your risk factors and talking about them together with your doctor may assist you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
There are 2 substances that greatly increase the risk of developing a head and neck cancer:
Tobacco. Tobacco use includes smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes; chewing tobacco; and using snuff. It is the only largest risk factor for head and neck cancer. Eighty-five percent (85%) of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use, and the amount of tobacco use may affect prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. In addition, secondhand smoke may increase a person’s risk of developing head and neck cancer.
Alcohol. Frequent and heavy alcohol consumption raises the risk of developing cancer in the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and esophagus.Using alcohol and tobacco together increases this risk even more.Other factors that can raise a person’s risk of developing head and neck cancer include:
Prolonged sun exposure - This is especially linked to cancer in the lip area, as well as skin cancer of the head and neck.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) - Research shows that infection with HPV may be a risk factor for head and neck cancer. Sexual activity with an individual who has HPV is that the commonest way someone gets HPV. There are different types of HPV, called strains. Research links some HPV strains more strongly with certain sorts of cancers. There are vaccines available to guard you from the HPV strains that cause head and neck cancer. See Latest Research for more information.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) - Exposure to EBV, which is more commonly known as the virus that causes mononucleosis or "mono," plays a role in the development of nasopharyngeal cancer.
Gender - Men are 2 to three times more likely than women to develop head and neck cancer. However, the speed of head and neck cancer in women has been rising for several decades.
Age - People over the age of 40 are at higher risk for head and neck cancer.
Poor oral and dental hygiene - Poor care of the mouth and teeth may increase the danger of head and neck cancer.
Environmental or occupational inhalants - Inhaling asbestos, wood dust, paint fumes, and certain chemicals may increase a person’s risk of head and neck cancer.
Marijuana use - Research suggests that folks who have used marijuana could also be at higher risk for head and neck cancer.
Poor nutrition - A diet low in vitamins A and B can raise a person’s risk of head and neck cancer.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux disease (LPRD) - Reflux of stomach acid into the upper airway and throat could also be related to the event of head and neck cancer.
Weakened immune system - A weakened system can raise a person’s risk of head and neck cancer.
Exposure to radiation - Exposure to radiation is associated with salivary gland cancer.
Previous history of head and neck cancer - People who have had 1 head and neck cancer have a higher chance of developing another head and neck cancer in the future.
Head and Neck Cancer: Symptoms and Signs
Ø Swelling or a sore that does not heal; this is the most common symptom
Ø Red or white patch in the mouth
Ø Lump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area, with or without pain
Ø Persistent sore throat
Ø Foul mouth odor not explained by hygiene
Ø Hoarseness or change in voice
Ø Nasal obstruction or persistent nasal congestion
Ø Frequent nose bleeds and/or unusual nasal discharge
Ø Difficulty breathing
Ø Double vision
Ø Numbness or weakness of a body part in the head and neck region
Ø Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
Ø Jaw pain
Ø Blood in the saliva or phlegm, which is mucus discharged into the mouth from respiratory passages
Ø Loosening of teeth
Ø Dentures that no longer fit
Ø Unexplained weight loss
Ø Ear pain or infection
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