Head and neck cancers include those of the lip, oral cavity (mouth), nasal cavity (nose), sinuses, pharynx (the tube extending behind nose down to esophagus and trachea), and larynx (voicebox/vocal chords).
90 percent of head and neck cancers involve squamous cells carcinomas, which are cells that line the inside of the nose, mouth and throat or the middle layer of the skin. Cancer of the head and neck often spread to the lymph nodes located on each side of the neck, which can be where symptoms—typically a lump/swelling or chronic sore throat—are first noticed.
Causes and Symptoms
Tobacco and alcohol are the leading causes of head and neck cancers, while sun exposure is the leading cause of cancers of the lip. Common symptoms are a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. For a complete list of symptoms, please visit the resource sites listed below.
While these ailments may be caused by any number of less serious conditions other than cancer, it is always advisable to see your doctor for proper diagnosis.
Head and neck cancers are treated by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, also referred to as an Otolaryngologist. The otolaryngologist for the central Vermont region is J. Gary Rose, MD of the University of Vermont Medical Center.
Learn more about ENT services at UVM Medical Center.