Things you need to know about head and neck cancer

Head and neck cancer is a state when distinct deadly tumors develop around Throat, Neck, Sinus, Mouth, and Larynx. Most of the cancerous cells found in these areas are squamous.
Cancer is a stage when carcinoma cells begin to grow in an uncontrolled manner. They form a mass that is called a tumor. Head and neck cancer is a state when distinct deadly tumors develop around Salivary Glands, Tongue, Nasal Cavity, Paranasal Sinuses, Oral Cavity, Larynx and Pharynx (including nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx). Most of the cancerous cells found in these areas are squamous.

The symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer may include the following

  • Swelling or soreness which does not heal is the most common symptom
  • Red or white patch in the mouth
  • Bump, lump or mass present in the head or neck area with and without pain
  • Foul mouth odor not explained by hygiene
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Continuous nasal congestion or unusual nasal discharge.

People who are at high risk of head and neck cancers should also discuss with their doctors how often to have checkups. Furthermore, ongoing clinical trials are testing the efficiency of different medications in preventing head and neck cancers in people who have a high level of risk in evolving these diseases

  • Radiation Therapy - means the use of high-energy X-rays or other particles to kill the cancer cells. A radiation therapy schedule consists of a specific number of treatments given over a period. External-Beam Radiation Therapy is the most common type of radiation therapy, such as Intensity Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT).
  • Chemotherapy - means using drugs for cancer cells, by stopping the cancer cell's ability to develop and divide. A chemotherapy schedule consists of a specific number of cycles given over a set period.
  • Targeted Therapy - It is a treatment that targets only cancer-specific genes, proteins, or the tissue surrounding that contributes to cancer growth and survival. This type of treatment blocks the development and spread of cancer cells while restricting the damage to healthy cells.

Performing tests like X-rays, CT or MRI scans of the head or chest can be taken to detect if cancer has spread.

Surgeries of head and neck cancers often change the patient’s ability of chewing, swallowing or talking. After the surgery, the patient may look different like his or her face and neck may get swollen, where the swelling usually goes away within few weeks. And, if lymph nodes are removed, then the flow of lymph in that area may get slower, and lymph could collect in the tissues which cause additional swelling; which may last for a long time.

Soft diet for Head and Neck Cancer patients which is to chew and swallow includes

  • Tender-cooked chicken, turkey or pork, just cut into smaller pieces or ground meat moistened with gravy.
  • Flaky fish
  • Tuna, chicken or egg salad, finely chopped and well moistened
  • Soft cooked or canned vegetables cut into small pieces
  • Ripened banana or soft canned fruits
  • Well cooked pasta or macaroni well moistened with gravy or sauce

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Head and neck cancer is a state when distinct deadly tumors develop around Throat, Neck, Sinus, Mouth, and Larynx. Most of the cancerous cells found in these areas are squamous.

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