The 5 Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

The Symptoms of Head Cancer and corresponds to any type of cancer that can be found in the head or neck region, with the exception of the eyes , brain, ears and esophagus. “It originates in the skin or soft tissue, in the upper part of the respiratory and digestive systems: oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavities, pharynx (nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx), larynx and lymph nodes”.According to international data, this type of cancer is the sixth most common in Brazil, with half the incidence of lung cancer , but twice as common as cervical cancer . However, despite its increasing incidence, the population remains little aware of this disease and its consequences.

It is estimated that about 60 percent of head and neck cancer cases are diagnosed at an advanced stage of the disease, which limits the success of treatment and, consequently, its cure.

Over the last few years, the head and neck cancer study group  has tried to raise awareness of this pathology, by carrying out various awareness-raising actions, in order to reverse this trend.

“Tobacco and alcohol consumption are two major risk factors and the combination of the two greatly increases the likelihood of suffering from this disease. Risk factors also depend on the type of head and neck cancer involved”, reveals the specialist.

According to the oncologist, “the most frequent tumors are those of the larynx (with an incidence of 25%) and Oral Cavity (22%)”.

Signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer can include the appearance of a lump, a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not improve, difficulty swallowing, and voice changes or hoarseness. However, these symptoms can also be caused by other medical conditions. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to talk to your doctor. So, check out The Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer.

Other symptoms that may indicate the presence of a tumor in different regions of the head and neck are:

  • Oral Cavity – A white or red spot on the gum, tongue, or lining of the mouth. swelling of the jaw making dentures uncomfortable; and bleeding or pain in the mouth;
  • Pharynx – Difficulty breathing or speaking, pain when swallowing, pain in the neck or throat that does not go away , frequent headaches , pain or ringing in the ears, or hearing problems;
  • Larynx – Pain when swallowing or earache;
  • Sinuses and Nasal Cavity – Blocked sinuses, chronic infections that do not respond to antibiotic treatment, nose bleeds, frequent headaches, swollen eyes, pain in the upper teeth or problems with dentures;
  • Salivary Glands – Swelling under the chin or around the jawbone, numbness or paralysis of the muscles of the face, pain in the face , chin or neck that does not improve;

“If the patient has any of these signs or symptoms that do not resolve within three weeks, they should see a doctor.”

According to the specialist’s assessment, and if the lesion is suspicious, a biopsy may be necessary for diagnosis. “If the diagnosis is cancer, the doctor will have to assess the stage and for that, imaging tests will be necessary.

Head and neck cancers are classified according to the size and location of the original tumor, the number and size of metastases in the lymph nodes of the neck and the evidence of metastases in other organs, with stage I being considered the least advanced and stage IV the least advanced. last (and also the most serious) degree of disease progression.

Despite being more frequent from the age of 40, there has been an increasing incidence rate in young people under 30, “due to the fact that the disease is associated with lifestyle and above all, excessive consumption of tobacco and alcohol”. For the same reason, it affects more men than women, “because they are greater consumers of these substances”.

The general lack of knowledge about head and neck cancer causes its symptoms to be often neglected, or easily confused with other benign pathologies.

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Therefore, what is recommended is that a wound/ injury , hoarseness, sore throat , a lump in the neck that does not resolve within three weeks should be subject to medical observation, underlines the specialist. “As with any other cancer, the survival rate will be higher the earlier the diagnosis is made.”

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