Head & Neck Cancer

Friday, April 17, 2009 · 2 comments

Most head and neck cancers begin in the mucosal surfaces in the mouth, nose and throat. Included are cancers of the oral cavity, salivary glands, paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, and the lymph nodes in the upper part of the neck. Head and neck cancers are highly treatable and the cure rate is good if they are detected early.

The cause of head and neck cancer in most people is still unknown, but research is going on all the time to learn more..Cancers of the head and neck are some of the few cancers for which a particular cause can often be identified. There are a number of risk factors that can increase your chance of developing head and neck cancer.Like most types of cancer, head and neck cancers are more common in older people.Squamous cell carcinomas are much more common in smokers and people who drink a lot of alcohol, particularly spirits, and even more common in people who do both.Pipe smokers and people who hold cigarettes between their lips for long periods have a higher risk of cancers in the lip area. People who chew tobacco or betel nuts and those who use paan have a higher risk of cancers in the oral cavity.People who have long periods of exposure to the sun in their daily life have an increased risk of cancer of the lip and the skin of the head and neck area, especially the ear.A poor diet that contains very little fresh fruit and vegetables may increase your risk of certain types of mouth cancer.Breathing in certain chemicals and hardwood dusts for example, in workplaces increases the risk of cancers of the nose and sinuses.

Symptoms include a lump or sore that does not heal,a sore throat that does not go away,trouble swallowing,a change or hoarseness in the voice,an unexplained loose tooth,a numb feeling in the mouth or on the lipsringing in the ear, or difficulty in hearing,pain in the face or upper jaw,a swelling or lump in the mouth or neck.Using tobacco or alcohol increases your risk. In fact, many people who r affected by head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use including smoking.

In order to examine your throat and neck, the doctor may use a small mirror held at the back of your mouth. The doctor may also pass a nasendoscope ,a very thin flexible tube with a light at the end into your nose to get a better view of the back of the mouth and throat.The doctor can only make a definite diagnosis by taking a sample of cells from the abnormal area to examine under a microscope. This procedure is called a biopsy.This is a quick, simple procedure that is done in the outpatient clinic. Using a fine needle and syringe, the doctor takes a sample of cells from a lump and sends it to the laboratory to see if any cancer cells are present. An FNAC may be quite uncomfortable and the area may be bruised for a week or so afterwards. The other of diagnosing isiInstead of having biopsies, a small amount of blue dye is painted onto the abnormal area, which is then looked at very closely using a microscope. Microcytoscopy should not be painful although it may be a little uncomfortable.


Surgery includes removing cancer and some of the healthy tissue around it. Lymph nodes in the neck may also be removed , if the doctor suspects that the cancer has spread. Surgery may be followed by radiation treatment.Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy. This treatment involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. Radiation may come from a machine outside the body . It can also come from radioactive materials placed directly into or near the area where the cancer cells are found .chemotheraphy also called anticancer drugs. This treatment is used to kill cancer cells throughout the body. The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the drugs that are given. Sometimes the treatment of head and neck cancers will involve two or more treatments combined together.For most people, the treatment is aimed at removing the cancer and reducing the chances of the cancer coming back.Cancers affecting the head and neck are uncommon and therefore people with this type of cancer are usually treated in specialist cancer hospitals.

Cervical cancer


Cervical cancer or cancer of the cervix is an abnormal growth of cancercells in the in women. Cancer that forms in tissues of the cervix i.e., the organ connecting the uterus.It is usually a slow-growing cancer that may not have symptoms but can be found with regular Pap tests which means a procedure in which cells are scraped from the cervix and looked at under a microscope.It is the second most common cancer in females and it is successfully curable in the early stages. Cervical cancer occurs most commonly between 40 and 55 years of age.The cancer cells may be present in the cervix for 4-10 years before becoming invasive, affecting the deeper tissues and giving rise to symptoms.

Although cervical cancers start from cells with pre-cancerous changes , only some of the women with precancers of the cervix will develop cancer. The change from precancer to cancer usually takes several years - but it can happen in less than a year. For most women, pre-cancerous cells will go away without any treatment. Still, in some women pre-cancers turn into true invasive cancers. Treating all pre-cancers can prevent almost all true cancers.Early cervical cancer may not cause noticeable signs or symptoms. Women should have yearly check-ups, including a Pap smear to check for abnormal cells in the cervix. The prognosis (chance of recovery) is better when the cancer is found early.

The causes of Cervical cancer are Smoking or a history of smoking,Many women have heard that having sexual intercourse at an early age and having multiple sexual partners can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. They may be distressed that friends and family could think they fall into these categories.A weakened immune system may also allow CIN to develop into a cancer. The immune system can be weakened by smoking, poor diet, and other infections, such as HIV.Long term use of the contraceptive pill more than 10 years can slightly increase the risk of developing cervical cancer, but the benefits of taking the pill outweigh the risks for most women.Cancer of the cervix is not infectious and cannot be passed on to other people.

Abnormal cervical cell changes rarely cause symptoms. But you may have symptoms if those cell changes grow into cervical cancer.The most common symptom of cervical cancer is abnormal bleeding, such as between periods or after intercourse. Often there is also a bad-smelling vaginal discharge, and discomfort during intercourse. Women who have had their menopause who are no longer having periods may have some new bleeding.It can be embarrassing to talk about these symptoms, but the sooner you see your doctor and a diagnosis is made, the better the chance of treatment being successful.

If abnormal cells are found in a smear test or liquid-based cytology, you may be referred for a colposcopy to have a biopsy taken.A colposcope is like a small microscope with a light and allows the nurse or doctor to make a more thorough examination of the abnormal cells on the cervix.If the abnormal area can't be seen properly with the colposcope, you may have a cone biopsy. This is often done under local anaesthetic, although you may need a general anaesthetic and an overnight stay in hospital.A small cone-shaped section of the cervix, that is aimed to be large enough to remove any abnormal cells, is taken for examination under a microscope by a pathologist.

There are two main types of cervical cancer. The most common is called squamous cell carcinoma: this develops from the flat cells which cover the outer surface of the cervix at the top of the vagina.The other type is called adenocarcinoma: this type develops from the glandular cells which line the cervical canal . As adenocarcinoma starts in the cervical canal it can be more difficult to detect with cervical screening tests.


surgery is often the main treatment for cancer of the cervix in its early stages where it is only in the cervix.

Radiotheraphy is as effective as surgery in this situation but can cause more side effects. For this reason, surgery is usually used. Radiotherapy is sometimes used after surgery if there is a risk that some cancer cells may be left behind, to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Sometimes radiotherapy is combined with chemotherapy, which is known as concomitant therapy or chemoradiotherapy.

Chemotherapy is occasionally used before surgery, to shrink the cancer and make the operation easier, but this is not common.

Cervical cancer that is caught early can usually be cured. If the cancer is caught very early, you still may be able to have children after treatment.The treatment for most stages of cervical cancer removes the cancer and makes you unable to have children

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