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About Head and Neck Cancer

The Head and Neck Cancer Program at the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute includes board- certified otolaryngologists (ear, nose, and throat surgeons), radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, and other specialists. As with many cancers, head and neck cancer patients may require a combination of treatment therapies, so the multidisciplinary approach of the head and neck cancer program provides customized treatment plans for each patient.

Fast Facts

Head and neck cancers are most often found in the mouth and throat, with the potential to spread to the neck and other distant sites. They are frequently linked to tobacco use, but are often curable if detected early. They account for approximately three to five percent of all cancers detected in the United States.

Symptoms

Your primary care physician, dentist, or oral surgeon may detect the early signs of head and neck cancer. Symptoms include a lump in the neck, change in the voice, growth in the mouth, blood in saliva, difficulty swallowing, changes in the skin or a persistent earache.

Diagnosis and Staging

There are several techniques used to diagnose and stage head and neck cancer. They include endoscopies, Computed Tomography (CT Scans), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRIs), Positron Emission Tomography (PET scans), ultrasounds and fine needle aspiration.

Treatments

Treatment regimens for head and neck cancers depend on where the tumor is located, how far the cancer has progressed and the age and overall health of the patient. Options include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. Patients and physicians should also consider how the treatments might affect how the patient looks, talks and breathes once the treatment is complete.