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Head and Neck Cancer

Cancer Type

What is Head and Neck Cancer?

The tissues of the head and neck are affected by head and neck cancer. These can be classified as primary, meaning they originate in the head or neck, or secondary, meaning they spread from other organs to the neck. They start in the muscles, nerves, sinuses, or salivary gland. Squamous cells, which are found in the linings of the head and neck, are where these cancers most frequently develop. Human papillomavirus exposure and smoking history are more frequently linked to squamous cell cancer.

Globally, 57.5 percent of head and neck cancers are found in Asia, especially in India. Thirty percent of malignancies in India were head and neck cancers. In India, 60 to 80 percent of patients have advanced disease, compared to 40 percent in developed nations.

Asarfi oncology department excels at offering top-notch cancer treatment because of their combined more than 30 years of clinical excellence. Our oncologists and onco-surgeons treat all types and forms of cancer using a multidisciplinary approach. They are assisted by a team of highly skilled reconstructive surgeons who treat all of our patients, both adults and children, with extensive care, as well as by the newest cancer treatment technologies.


There are several types of head and neck cancer that can occur:

malignancies of the mouth cavity

It consists of the inner lining of the inner cheeks, the gums, the front two thirds of the tongue, the lips, and the hard palate, or bony area. It mostly happens as a result of smoking or excessive tobacco use.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

The pharynx is a hollow tube that connects the oesophagus and nose, measuring roughly 4-5 inches in length. Oropharyngeal cancer is the term for this kind of cancer that develops in the throat area. It appears in the tonsil area, the base of the tongue, and the back of the mouth.

Laryngeal Cancer

The larynx, which is situated in the neck just below the pharynx, is where this type of cancer is found. The voice is produced when air is directed towards the vocal cord, which is located in the larynx. A person's voice changes as a result of this cancer.

Cancer of the Nasopharynx

This kind of cancer involves the presence of cancer cells in the tissue of the nasopharynx. It is the area directly behind the nose in the upper throat.

Cancer of the Salivary Gland

The salivary glands are impacted by this cancer. The saliva produced in the mouth by the salivary gland aids in the dissolution of food. Additionally, the upper portion of the digestive tract contains salivary glands.

Cervical Squamous Cell Cancer

These are the thin, flat cells that line the respiratory tract, the surface of the skin, and the inside of bodily organs. From its original locations, cancer spreads to the collarbone and lymph nodes in the neck.

Carcinoma of the Soft Tissue

This particular type of cancer arises when malignant cells are discovered in the soft tissues of the head and neck, including muscles, connective tissue, blood and lymph vessels, joints, and fat.


The organ impacted and the disease's stage determine the symptoms of head and neck cancer. But a few of the signs and symptoms are:

  • Oral Cavity: It is possible to develop red and white patches on the tongue, gums, and inner lining of the mouth. Unusual gum bleeding and oral pain can both happen occasionally.
  • Throat: Pain in the neck and throat that takes a long time to go away, difficulty swallowing. Hearing loss and ringing in the ears are possible side effects.
  • Voicebox: The individual might have trouble speaking. He might also be suffering from ear pain.
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: When sinuses are obstructed, a persistent sinus infection develops that is resistant to antibiotic therapy. There may be frequent headaches and nasal bleeding.
  • Salivary Gland: Swelling around the jawbone and under the chin is another possible symptom for these patients.


It is unknown exactly why these cancers develop. But researchers think that excessive alcohol and tobacco use may contribute to head and neck cancer, especially when the cancer affects the larynx, oral cavity, oropharynx, or hypopharynx. Furthermore, head and neck cancer is also brought on by the human papillomavirus.

Extra Risk Elements

The following are head and neck cancer risk factors :

  • Pan (Betel Nut): This has the potential to cause cancer of the mouth.
  • Pan Eating Preserved or Salted Food : Nasopharyngeal cancer may result from consuming a variety of preserved and salted foods.
  • Pan Bad Oral Health : Oral cancer can be brought on by both poor dental and oral health.
  • Occupational Exposure : Frequent wood dust exposure increases the risk of larynx cancer.
  • Radiation Exposure : Salivary gland cancer can result from radiation exposure to the head and neck.
  • Epstein Barr Infection : Nasopharyngeal and salivary gland cancer may be caused by viral exposure, such as Epstein Barr infection
  • Family History : If there is a history of head and neck cancer in the family, the individual may be at an increased risk of acquiring the disease.


The stages of head and neck cancer are as follows:

  • Stage 0: Also referred to as carcinoma in situ, this is the lowest point on the scale. It describes abnormal cells that have the potential to develop into cancer in the lining of the affected area.
  • Stage I: A very early stage of cancer is referred to as "stage I." The tumor's diameter is a mere two millimetres. There are currently no lymph nodes affected by the cancer.
  • Stage II: A tumour is considered to be in Stage II if its diameter is more than two centimetres but not more than four. Stage II cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage III: Tumours larger than four centimetres in diameter or those that have metastasized to a lymph node on the same side of the neck and have a diameter of less than three centimetres are classified as stage III head and neck cancer.
  • Stage VI: Stage IV is the most advanced stage of cancer of the head and neck. The tumour may be small or large, but it has spread to the following regions.


The prognosis for head and neck cancer is favourable if detected early. Your doctor may conduct a physical examination and order a diagnostic test while diagnosing you.

  • Physical Examination : During a physical examination, the doctor may assess nasal and oral health. Additionally, he might search for lumps on the lips, gums, and neck.
  • Diagnostic Test: If the physician believes there may be a head or neck cancer, he may also recommend the following tests:
    • endoscopy to assess the throat, nasal cavity, and voice box.
    • urine test Urine test
    • X-ray of the head and neck
    • CT scans
    • MRI
    • Autopsy
    • Urine examination
    • HPV examination


The following circumstances determine how head and neck cancer is treated:

  • Where the cancer is located.
  • Cancer stage
  • Patient's age and general state of health.
  • When treating cancer, the following procedures are carried out :
    • Surgery: The doctor removes the malignant tumour during this procedure. The physician might also remove the lymph nodes if cancer has spread to them.
    • Radiation: The physician employs high-energy radiation to destroy the malignant cells. Radiation therapy, however, carries the potential to harm other tissues.
    • Chemotherapy: By preventing the cancerous cells from growing and proliferating, a number of medications destroy them. These medications are given by the doctor as part of the chemotherapy treatment. There are multiple cycles of medication administration during chemotherapy.
    • Target therapy: The medications attack the genes, proteins, and other essential functions of cancer cells.
    • Immunotherapy: By strengthening the immune system, a doctor can aid in the fight against cancer.