All About Head and Neck Cancers

What are head and neck cancers?

An extensive set of cancers that originate in the oral cavity, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, throat (oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx), and other nearby regions. These are clubbed together as head and neck cancers. They are classified in the same category because diagnosis, staging, and treatment of many of these cancers are similar, with few exceptions.

Types of Head and Neck Cancers

Graphic representation of throat anatomy

According to the primary site of origin, they are further classified into the following categories:

Types of treatment

Primarily, the treatment modalities used in head and neck cancers are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Usually, oncologists recommend a multi-modality treatment wherein treatment is administered or carried out in one or more combinations — Many head and neck cancer patients experience post-treatment side effects. Side effects may be both short and long term. They are:

  • dryness of mouth,
  • difficulty in swallowing or eating,
  • difficulty in opening mouth,
  • problems in chewing (dental problems and decreased salivary output),
  • change in voice and hearing loss (transient).
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