When one hears the word cancer, head and neck cancer typically don’t come to mind. However, four percent of cancers diagnosed in the country are of this type, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years. Sadly, the quiet killer neck cancer can reach an advanced stage before it is diagnosed. For this reason, everyone needs to be aware of the symptoms.
Symptoms Seen with Neck Cancer
Lumps and bumps found on the neck may be a sign of this cancer, but there are numerous other symptoms that are often attributed to other diseases or medical conditions that could also result from cancer of the head or neck. This includes blood from the throat or nose or coughing up blood. The symptoms may likewise present in the ear, appearing as persistent pain in the ear or middle ear fluid in one ear that won’t go away. People often report their throat hurts when they swallow or they have noticed a change when doing so. Any neurological function changes need to be reported to a doctor along with night sweats or a fever. As with many cancers, weight loss may also be a sign of this disease.
Surgery is often the first line of treatment for head and neck cancer. However, the doctor may also recommend chemotherapy and radiation if the cancer has advanced. Follow up appointments are needed with an ENT to ensure the cancer has been removed and to make certain it does not return once the patient is in remission if he or she reaches this point.
As with any cancer, prevention is key. Alcohol and tobacco use have been linked to the development of head and neck cancer, accounting for approximately 75 percent of cases. However, the HPV virus is responsible for the rise in new cases, which is why the vaccine now being offered for children is critical. Furthermore, oral hygiene is of importance in preventing this disease, and the same is true of using preventative devices when working around certain substances on the job, such as formaldehyde.
Speak to your doctor today regarding head and neck cancers. A person cannot be too knowledgeable when it comes to their health. The more information you have, the more you can do to protect your body from this, other types of cancer, and many medical conditions. Make an appointment today.