Head and Neck Cancer

Head and Neck Cancer

Members of Our Team

David Yen, MD 
Bethlehem ENT Associates 

David Andolino, MD 
Advanced Radiation Oncology Associates

Sanjiv Agarwala, MD 
St. Luke's Cancer Care Associates

 

 

Tongue

As its name describes, tongue cancer is cancerous cells that grow on the tongue. And as with most oral cancers, tongue cancer is commonly diagnosed because its symptoms are fairly evident to patients, doctors and dentists.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Tongue cancer is caused primarily by use of tobacco, both tobacco that is smoked and the smokeless variety. Usually, tongue cancer appears as a lump on the tongue and, as it grows, it becomes an open sore that can cause the tongue to stiffen.

In addition to the use of tobacco, the risks of tongue cancer are:

  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Family history

Tests, Procedures and Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for tongue cancer that can include:

Treatments for tongue cancer can include:

Oral Cavity

Cancer of the oral cavity occurs when cancerous cells grow inside of the mouth and can appear on the tongue, gums, palate, floor of the mouth, inside of the lips or cheeks or in the tonsil area. As with most oral cancers, cancer of the oral cavity is commonly diagnosed because its symptoms are fairly evident to patients, doctors and dentists.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Oral cancers are caused primarily by use of tobacco, both tobacco that is smoked and the smokeless variety. Usually, oral cancers appear as a lump or lesion in the mouth and progress to become open sores that bleed and are persistent.

In addition to the use of tobacco, the risks of tongue cancer are:

  • Age
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Family history

Tests, Procedures and Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for oral cancers that can include:

Treatments for oral cancers can include:

Sinuses

The paranasal sinuses are the air-filled spaces between the bones around the nose. In these sinuses, cells produce mucus that keeps the inside of the nose moist during breathing. Sinus cancer is a disease in which cancerous cells form in the tissues in the sinuses.

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Because sinus cancer forms in these areas of the airways, people who breathe in dusts or chemicals are at particular risk. Other risk factors for sinus cancer include:

  • Gender, as sinus cancer affects men more often than women
  • Age older than 40 years
  • Smoking

The symptoms of sinus cancer may not appear in the early stages of the disease. Later, they may include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure
  • Headaches
  • A persistent lump or lesion on the inside of the nose
  • Headaches

Tests, Procedures and Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for sinus cancer that can include:

  • X-rays
  • Nasoscopy, a test during which the doctor will insert a thin lit instrument with a camera to see inside the nasal cavity and, if needed, can take tissue samples.
  • Biopsy

Treatments for sinus cancer can include:

Throat

Throat cancer - also known as pharyngeal cancer—occurs in the tissues of the tube (pharynx) in the neck that runs from the back of the nose to the top of the esophagus. “Throat cancer” is an umbrella term that covers cancer of the:

  • Nasopharyngeal (the upper section of the throat behind the nose)
  • Oropharyngeal (the middle section of the pharynx)
  • Hypopharyngeal (the bottom section of the pharynx)

Causes, Symptoms and Risk Factors

Throat cancers are caused primarily by use of tobacco, both tobacco that is smoked and the smokeless variety. Other risk factors for throat cancers include:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Poor diet

The common symptoms of throat cancers are:

  • A persistent sore throat
  • Ear or chest pain
  • Pain when or difficulty swallowing

Additional symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer include:

  • A lump in the nose
  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • Nosebleeds
  • Hearing difficulty
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Headaches

Additional symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer include:

  • Persistent cough
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A lump in the mouth, throat or neck
  • Voice change

Additional symptoms of hypopharyngeal cancer include:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Voice change

Tests, Procedures and Treatments

A doctor will perform a physical examination, review symptoms with the patient and perform testing for throat cancer that can include:

  • X-rays
  • Endoscopy
  • CT scan
  • MRI
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan, during which a low-dose radioactive sugar-based substance is injected into the patient's bloodstream. Cancer cells absorb sugar more rapidly than normal cells and a special camera can detect where the radioactive material has been absorbed by tumors in the pharynx.
  • Nasoscopy, a test during which the doctor will insert a thin lit instrument with a camera to see inside the nasal cavity and, if needed, can take tissue samples.
  • Biopsy

Treatments for throat cancer can include: