Cancers of the cells that line the head and neck cavity areas, including the tubes from the nose and mouth back toward the throat and down slightly toward the vocal cords, are known as head and neck cancers, says Dr. Suvadip Chakrabarti, the best head & neck cancer doctor in Kolkata.

Head and neck cancers accounted for 30% of all malignancies in India and they continue to be a major threat.

Pain or soreness in the mouth or throat, voice changes and neck swelling are common early indications of head and neck cancer.

Unfortunately, these are not frequent symptoms and patients may not know when to seek medical attention. This leads to people dismissing their symptoms until the disease has progressed and is more difficult to treat.

If any of the symptoms above persist for more than three to five days, all patients, especially those with risk factors such as smoking, should seek quick medical attention. Early identification increases the chances of survival. Identifying cancer early increases additional treatment options and allows to stop cancer before it spreads.

Cancers of the head and neck can spread to neighboring lymph nodes in the neck. Patients may notice swelling in their necks or difficulties swallowing when this happens. The disease causes substantial symptoms and is usually discovered before it extends beyond the head and neck to other sites such as the lungs. 

However, this level of metastasis can be found in people with recurring malignancy, says the head & neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata.

Don’t avoid the symptoms of head and neck cancer

As mentioned above, early diagnosis of head and neck cancer increases treatment options and helps to stop cancer before it spreads. If you feel that you might be suffering from head and neck cancer symptoms, the best thing to do is not to ignore them and consult a specialist immediately. 

The symptoms are perplexing, as is the term “head and neck cancer,” because not all malignancies discovered in these locations are labeled as such. Head and neck malignancies develop in the interior lining of tissues rather than in a specific organ.

This distinguishes head and neck malignancies from thyroid cancer or brain cancer, even though the thyroid is in the neck and the brain is in the head, says the best head & neck cancer doctor in Kolkata.

Squamous cell carcinomas are the most prevalent head and neck cancer type and start in the oropharynx (base of tongue and tonsil area), oral cavity and larynx.

Head and neck cancer treatment

Head and neck cancer treatment is difficult and it is advised to all patients with the disease to consult a specialist as soon as possible following diagnosis.

Although head and neck cancers are frequently aggressive and can be fatal, many of them are curable with cancer therapy. 

The treatment employed is determined by the patient’s stage, location and type of head and neck cancer. These cancers can be treated with surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or combination of the three.Radiation is provided to patients when surgery is not an option or would not completely eliminate the malignancy. Chemotherapy is frequently used in conjunction with radiation to boost its effectiveness, says the head & neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata.