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Cancer Center

Head & Neck Cancers
Head and Neck Cancer
Definition

Head and neck cancers start in the tissues and organs of the head and neck. This refers to any cancer of the mouth, throat, voice box, nose and sinuses.

Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of many types of head and neck cancer. Treatment and prognosis depends on the type of head and neck cancer and the stage of that cancer.

St. Luke’s Cancer Center employs a team-approach to diagnose and treat head and neck cancers to provide the most appropriate treatment with as few side effects as possible. This team includes surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, otolaryngologists (ears, nose and throat), dentists, physical, occupational and speech therapists, oncology nurse navigators and dietitians.

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Symptoms

Often head and neck cancers exhibit few or no symptoms until the disease reaches advanced stages.

Symptoms of head and neck cancers can include:

  • A painless lump in the neck that lasts for three weeks, a month or more
  • hoarseness or a persistent change in voice
  • A persistent sore throat or one that lasts a long time
  • Persistent ear pain

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Treatment

The treatment of the head and neck cancer depends on several factors, including the type, location, extent of the cancer and a patient's general health.

Treatments may include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy alone, or combined with chemotherapy
  • Access to promising clinical trials

For additional information on programs, services and locations, download and print the following PDFs:

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Our Team

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