Screening of Head and Neck Cancer

Executive Summary

Cancer screening employs the systematic application of various tests to detect cancer. The primary aim of screening for head and neck cancer includes detecting the disease, thereby limiting deaths due to late diagnosis and treatment and lowering the number of people who develop cancer. The screening examination would be a simple, quick procedure where the doctor will examine the mouth, throat, and nose for any lumps, masses, or other abnormalities. Certain diagnostic procedures can also be recommended if the doctor finds anything unusual to detect the underlying problem.

There are no screening procedures proven to elevate the survival rate of people with head and neck cancers. However, doctors recommend a detailed physical examination of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, soft palate, larynx, pharynx, neck area, salivary glands etc., at least once a year to detect any illness. A routine dental check-up can also help to screen for head and neck cancer. People can also check any oral cancer screening happening in your locality.

Screening of Head and Neck Cancer

Medical screening is a strategy to detect potential health risks or diseases. And so, a thorough medical screening helps in the early detection of disease conditions. Cancer screening is used to detect cancerous growth in the body, even before the person starts to experience any visible signs or symptoms. And so, cancer screening employs the systematic application of various tests to detect cancer. Scientists are also focusing on devising better screening options and tests to detect different types of cancers in a time-bound manner.

  • Early detection of disease thereby limiting deaths due to late diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
  • Lower the number of people who develop cancer or any illness.

Routine Screening and Importance

People who drink alcohol, or use tobacco, or drugs are at a higher risk of developing head and neck cancers. Hence, people who have the habit or had it in the past should undergo general health screening at least once a year. This screening examination would be a simple, quick procedure. Here, the doctor will examine the mouth, throat, and nose for any lumps, masses, or other abnormalities. Certain diagnostic procedures can also be help detect the tumor if the doctor finds anything unusual to detect the underlying problem.

At present, there are no screening procedures proven to elevate the survival rate of people with head and neck cancers ​1​. However, doctors recommend a detailed physical examination of the mouth, tongue, tonsils, soft palate, larynx, pharynx, neck area, salivary glands etc., at least once a year to detect any illness ​2​. A routine dental check-up is recommended to screen for head and neck cancer.

References

  1. 1.
    Dwojak S, Deschler D, Sargent M, Emerick K, Guadagnolo BA, Petereit D. Knowledge and Screening of Head and Neck Cancer Among American Indians in South Dakota. Am J Public Health. Published online June 2015:1155-1160. doi:10.2105/ajph.2014.302177
  2. 2.
    Ven S, Bugter O, Hardillo J, Bruno M, Baatenburg de Jong R, Koch A. Screening for head and neck second primary tumors in patients with esophageal squamous cell cancer: A systematic review and meta‐analysis. United European Gastroenterol j. Published online December 2019:1304-1311. doi:10.1177/2050640619856459