Signs and Symptoms of Head And Neck Cancer

by | Jan 27, 2015 | Health

Head And Neck Cancer refers to a group of similar cancers that start in the lip, mouth, neck, throat and nasal cavities. These are comprised of tumors that may or may not be able to be surgical removed. Early detection is important, but is not always possible since many of the signs and symptoms mimic a cold or common ache or pain that most people ignore. It is usually only when the symptoms become persistent that people seek medical care. Some presenting symptoms include things like a sore throat, an ear ache, nasal congestion, neck pain and frequent nose bleeds. Other signs can be double vision, trouble breathing or chewing or swallowing and unexplained weight loss.

Risk factors of Head And Neck Cancer are also risk factors for many other medical issues and diseases. Frequent and heavy consumption of alcohol, smoking, prolonged sun exposure, and poor nutrition are some of the more common risk factors. Environmental and occupational risks include exposure to carcinogens in nickel refining, exposure to asbestos, wood dust and paint fumes. Other risk factors include age and gender. You are at a higher risk if you are over 40 years old and men are 2-3 times more likely to get head and neck cancer than women.

This group of cancers tends to be aggressive in behavior and spreads quickly. It usually only presents itself once it gets to the lymph nodes as a sore throat, a lump in the neck or an ear infection. Surgery can be done with the intent of removing the entire tumor. It is not always possible, though due to close proximity to other areas. Laser surgery is showing some success and that is encouraging. Radiation is sometimes effective in reducing the tumor, but that leaves a high risk of the tumor growing again or metastasizing to other areas. Chemotherapy is sometimes an option but is often not effective. Most of these signs and symptoms are minor illnesses like a cold or bacterial infection. If you find that any of these signs and symptoms persist, however, you may want to have your doctor take a look just to be sure.

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