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Trivia – Head or Neck Cancer

9 August 2018

  1. Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, sometimes called “chewing tobacco” or “snuff”) are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers, especially cancers of the oral cavity, oropharynx and larynx.
  2. The symptoms of head and neck cancers may include a lump or a sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty in swallowing and a change or hoarseness in the voice.
  3. Treatment for head and neck cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy or combination of treatments.
  4. Here are some of the most common types of head and neck cancers:
  • Oral cavity cancer: starts in the mouth
  • Oropharyngeal cancer: starts in the back of the mouth or throat
  • Nasal cavity cancer: starts in the opening behind the nose, a space that runs along the top of the roof of the mouth and then turns downward to join the back of the mouth and throat
  • Paranasal sinus cancer: starts in the openings around or near the nose called sinuses
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer: starts in the upper part of the throat behind the nose
  • Laryngeal cancer: starts in the voice box
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer: starts in the lower part of the throat beside and behind the voice box
  1. The most common type of cancer in the head and neck area is called carcinoma. These cancers start in the cells that line all parts of the nose, mouth and throat.

Published in Sin Chew on 21st July 2018

By Dr. Johnson Ng Wei Siang, Consultant ENT/Head & Neck Surgeon Sri Kota Specialist Medical Centre