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Head and Neck Cancer: All you need to know
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Head and Neck Cancer: All you need to know

Listed among the top 10 cancers affecting people across the globe, head & neck cancers are responsible for approximately 325,000 deaths, annually. In fact, it has been estimated that these account for about 25 to 30 per cent of all cancers in India, with nearly 80 per cent of the patients living with the advanced form of the disease. This blog, by the experts specialising in head & neck cancer treatment in Gurugram, will help you understand everything you need to know about head & neck cancers.

What are Head & Neck Cancers?

Cancer is a progressive, life-threatening disease, marked by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells within a specific area of the body. Head and neck cancer is a collective term used for the entire range of cancers that originate from the organs and structures that are found within the head and neck. Cancer can involve different cells based on which it is classified into several different types. The most common of these is squamous cell carcinoma, which involves the squamous cells lining the mucosal surfaces. Head and neck cancers are usually aggressive, however, early detection and timely medical intervention can help to manage these effectively. Treatment for head and neck cancers is offered at all the best cancer hospitals in Gurugram.

Getting familiar with the most common types of Head and Neck Cancers

Some of the most common types of Head and Neck Cancers include:

Oral Cancers - Oral cancers, as the name suggests, involve the structures found within the mouth. This includes malignancies that develop on the lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, palate, salivary glands and gums.

Laryngeal Cancer - This refers to malignancy that originates from the cells of the larynx or the voice box.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer - This refers to cancer that develops within the nasopharynx, which lies in the upper part of the throat, right behind the nose.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer - This refers to cancer that develops in the lower part of the throat, i.e. the gullet.

Oropharyngeal Cancer - This refers to cancer that develops within the area of the throat that lies just behind the mouth.

Cancers of the paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity - These refer to the malignancies that develop in the tiny hollow spaces in the area of the skull around the nose.

Watch out for these symptoms

The symptoms of Head and Neck cancer vary depending on the type of cancer. These may include:

  • Swelling or soreness in the neck
  • Development of red and white patches within the mouth
  • Development of unusual lumps
  • Foul mouth odour that is not linked to oral hygiene
  • Hoarse voice
  • Sudden change in voice
  • Numbness or weakness in any area of the head or neck
  • Unexplained pain in the jaw
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Problems with chewing and swallowing food
  • Pain in the ear
  • Breathing difficulties due to nasal obstruction and congestion

What causes Head and Neck Cancer?

Top oncologists in Gurugram suggest that head and neck cancers are a result of abnormal genetic mutations that lead to the uncontrolled division of malignant cells in the specific areas of the head and neck. The exact cause of these mutations is not known, however, there are several factors that have been linked with the same.

Heavy drinking and smoking - These happen to be two of the primary risk factors for head and neck cancers, especially those originating within the oral cavity, hypopharynx and voice box.

Certain chronic infections - The most common of these is human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus. The former happens to be a leading risk factor for oropharyngeal cancers, whereas the latter is associated with nasopharyngeal and salivary gland cancers.

Betel Quid - Commonly referred to as paan and is a type of smokeless tobacco. It has been deeply linked with oral and throat cancer.

Occupational exposure - This involves the use of certain harmful chemicals and synthetic fibres. These have been linked with the increased risk of cancer of the voice box.

Exposure to radiation - Radiation treatment that may be given for some other medical reason, can sometimes lead to abnormal genetic mutations, that increase the risks of certain head and neck cancers

To know more about head and neck cancers, consult the experts from the best cancer hospitals in Gurugram, today.

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