Cancers that afflict the head and neck region impact over 65,000 people a year in the United States. The vast majority of these patients are men who are above the age of 50. These cancers can occur in the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, sinus cavity, salivary glands and other areas in the head and neck region.
The two most common risk factors for head and neck cancers (especially those that impact the oral cavity) are alcohol and tobacco use, including cigarettes and chewing tobacco. These account for nearly 75% of diagnosed head and neck cancers.
Additional risk factors include:
· Poor oral hygiene
· Radiation exposure
· Epstein-Barr virus infection
· Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection
The symptoms associated with head and neck cancer can include a lump or sore that won’t heal, difficulty swallowing, a sore throat that won’t go away or a change in your voice.
Head and neck cancers can harbor severe implications for your long-term health if not detected and treated at an early stage. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, your doctor may recommend a physical examination and diagnostic testing. The location and stage of the disease determines the course of treatment, which might include medications, radiation, chemotherapy or surgery.
You can reduce your risks by avoiding tobacco use, limiting your alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting vaccinated for the HPV virus.
Watson Clinic’s team of expert Otolaryngologists/ENT specialists offer comprehensive treatments for concerns related to the ear, nose and throat region. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 863-680-7486.