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Head & Neck Cancers

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HEAD AND NECK CANCERS CAN BE CURED IF DETECTED EARLY

Head and Neck Cancers make up almost 30% of cancers among Indians. The major culprits are chewing tobacco, betel nut, paan, smoking cigarettes and consuming excessive alcohol. Another risk factor is an infection with the HPV which increases the risk of throat cancer.

Common symptoms include:

  • A sore in the mouth that has not healed for more than 3 weeks
  • Persistent change of voice
  • Difficulty in chewing and swallowing
  • A lump in the neck
  • Bleeding, pain or numbness in the nose or mouth
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth
  • Facial, neck or ear pain

Having any of these symptoms does not mean you have cancer, but if you notice one or more of them for more than two weeks, please see your doctor and go in for an immediate health screening.

Treating Head and Neck cancers requires a multidisciplinary team of doctors (Head & Neck Oncosurgeons, Neurosurgeons, Reconstructive surgeons, Dental surgeons, Radiation oncologists & Medical oncologists) who address all dimensions of treatment, for the best outcome.

At first, ideally, a comprehensive personalized care plan should be drawn up for each individual patient after the cancer is diagnosed. Surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy or a combination could be used, depending upon the type, site and size of the tumor. This approach is what the best centres in the world use and it has been scientifically proven to produce the best results. Radiation is delivered using the Novalis Tx system, the fastest in treatment speed, precision and simplicity, to accurately target tumors. In addition, if needed minimally invasive surgery techniques such as Trans Oral Laser Surgery and Trans Oral Robotic Surgery (TORS) using the Da Vinci Robotic surgery system, are used.

Head and Neck Cancer can be prevented and cured if detected early. While treating though, the challenge lies in maintaining a fine balance between complete cancer clearances and making sure that the patient does not lose the ability to speak, swallow and breathe or a gross distortion of facial features. Highly skilled Reconstructive Surgeons use a microsurgery technique that uses miniaturized surgical instruments and a microscope to connect blood vessels in the leg bone (fibula) to blood vessels in the neck. Similarly, surgeons can use skin and muscle from a patient's thigh, hand or intestine to replace part of the neck, tongue, and throat. The Oncology Team's approach should ensure not only cure but also the maintainance of appearance and quality of life.

 

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