Head and Neck Cancer

A Brief About Head and Neck cancers

Head and neck cancers collectively refer to cancers that can affect parts of the head, the nose, the throat, and the mouth. It begins by affecting the mucosal surfaces of these organs, particularly the squamous cells and can later spread and affect parts of the skin, liver, breasts, lymph nodes, genitalia, lungs, liver, and bones, the process of which is called metastasis.

However, thanks to modern medicine, cancer research is a well-established and fast-progressing field, and there are many treatment options available to patients nowadays. The survival rate of Head and Neck Cancer patients has gone up in recent years, and there is more awareness of its prevention. Knowledge of the different types of head and neck cancers, their causes and symptoms, and prevention methods are key to evading or managing it properly and effectively.

Head and neck cancer primarily affects the following parts of the upper body.

  • Oral cavity: It includes the lips, the gums, the bottom of the mouth under the tongue, the roof of the mouth, the area behind the wisdom teeth, and two-thirds of the tongue.
  • Pharynx: It is a tube connecting the nose to the esophagus.
  • Larynx: It is situated just below the pharynx and is usually known as the voice box. It contains the vocal cords that vibrate when you talk, and the epiglottis, which is a small tissue to block food from getting into the windpipes.
  • Tonsils: These are a pair of soft tissue masses located at the back of your throat Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: These are the hollow spaces in the nose and the bones of the skull around the nose, respectively.
  • Salivary glands: They are the organs that are responsible for producing saliva, located under the tongue, and close to the jawbones. They are made of a few different parts, such as the parotid glands, located in front of and below the ears, sublingual gland, located below the tongue, and the submandibular gland, located below the jawbone.