Head & Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancers account for 4% of all cancer diagnoses in the United States, which typically affect men and women over the age of 50. There are many different types of cancers that can affect your head or neck, which is why you need the group of specialists at Charleston Oncology to oversee your care. The team of doctors has extensive experience diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers of all kinds.

Head and Neck Cancers Q & A

What are the most common types of head and neck cancers?

The category of head and neck cancers is a catch-all classification that encompasses most cancers that affect these two areas. The most common head and neck cancers include:

  • Oral cancers, which start in your mouth
  • Oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the back of your mouth or throat
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer, which occurs in your throat behind your larynx
  • Nasal cavity cancer
  • Paranasal sinus cancer

Most of these cancers are classified as carcinomas, which is a type of cancer that affects the cells in the tissue lining your nose, mouth, and throat.

How are head and neck cancers diagnosed and treated?

There are usually no warning signs that cancer is developing in your head or neck and you usually only become aware of it while investigating a problem you may be having, such as difficulty swallowing or a change in your voice.

If your doctor suspects that cancer might be the cause of your issue, they refer you to the specialists at Charleston Oncology, who will perform a number of tests, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsies
  • Advanced imaging, such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and PET scans
  • Endoscopy
  • Barium swallow test

Depending upon the results of these tests, your doctor rules out or confirms a cancer diagnosis and determines what stage it’s in, which determines your treatment options.

In most head and neck cancers, the team of oncologists turns to one or more of the following for treatment:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy, including CyberKnife®
  • Immunotherapy
  • Targeted therapies with specific medications
  • Clinical trials
  • Surgery

Rest assured, the team uses the latest guidelines encouraged by the National Comprehensive Cancer Network to treat your cancer.

What if I need a feeding tube?

If your head or neck cancer, or your treatment, puts you in a position where you need a feeding tube, the team of doctors at Charleston Oncology has dieticians on hand to help you learn the ins and outs of the feeding tube.

If you’re dealing with a potential head or neck cancer, call Charleston Oncology to request an appointment.

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