Head and neck cancer affects about 40,000 Americans each year. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer of this particular region, you likely have some questions about how it will be managed. The team of otolaryngologists (also known as ENT doctors) at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat in Simi Valley, CA, have explained the basics of head and neck cancer treatment in this post.
What are head and neck cancers?
Head and neck cancers include a variety of various tumors and cell abnormalities that form anywhere in this region of the body. This includes oral cancers, throat and voice box cancers, and those found in the sinuses or nose. These cancers are most commonly found in adults over the age of 50 and strongly associated with alcohol and tobacco usage. Other factors such as asbestos exposure, infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV) and a diet high in processed meat have shown to be risk factors as well. To aid in detection and cure of head and neck cancers, our otolaryngology team recommends regular screening for adults; this is often performed as part of dental checkups, but can also be done by one of our Simi Valley ENT doctors.
How are head and neck cancers treated?
The way head and neck cancers are managed depends upon the location of the cancer and its staging. Oral cancers - those affecting the lips, tongue, and other tissues inside the mouth - are often surgically removed, with skin grafts to help conceal cosmetic detriments. Radiation therapy is also frequently used to destroy head and neck cancer cells. Laser treatment may be utilized for cancers found near the voice box (the larynx) to minimize damage to the remaining healthy structures.
To make an appointment with one of our ENT doctors at West Coast Ear, Nose and Throat, contact one of our offices today. We have several locations in California: Simi Valley, Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, and Camarillo.