Types of Head & Neck Cancer
Oral Cancer: This type of cancer occurs in the mouth and can affect the lips, tongue, gums, the lining of the cheeks and lips, as well as the floor and roof of the mouth.
Oropharyngeal Cancer: This cancer develops in the middle part of the throat, known as the oropharynx. Tonsil cancer is a common type of oropharyngeal cancer.
Hypopharyngeal Cancer: Located in the bottom part of the throat, or the hypopharynx.
Laryngeal Cancer: This cancer affects the voice box, known as the larynx, which houses the vocal cords.
Nasopharyngeal Cancer: Found in the upper part of the throat, known as the nasopharynx.
Salivary Gland Cancer: Arising in the salivary glands responsible for producing saliva.
Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer: Developing in the nasal cavity or the sinus cavities surrounding the nose.
Head and neck cancers have the potential to spread to the lymph nodes in the upper portion of the neck.
It’s important to note that although these cancers affect areas in the head and neck, cancers such as brain, eye, esophageal, and thyroid cancers are not typically classified as head and neck cancers. As a result, their treatments differ and are distinct from those used for head and neck cancers.
What Causes Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancers usually start in the squamous cells lining different areas in the head and neck.
Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer
Detecting head and neck cancer can be tricky because the signs are often mild and might seem like common problems such as a cold or sore throat. The most usual sign is a persistent sore throat.
Other symptoms to look out for include:
Persistent Sore Throat: A sore throat that doesn’t go away.
Frequent Headaches: Regular and persistent headaches.
Voice Changes: Hoarseness or changes in the way your voice sounds.
Pain When Swallowing or Chewing: Pain in the upper teeth, especially when eating or swallowing.
Facial Pain or Numbness: Pain or numbness in the face.
Persistent Neck Pain: Neck pain that doesn’t disappear.