Did you know that February 4 is World Cancer Day? This international day of awareness was created by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise global awareness of cancer and encourage its prevention, detection and treatment.
If you or someone you love is at risk for head and neck tumors, ensuring that you get regular screenings will greatly aid in their prevention and treatment.
Head and neck cancers most often originate in the squamous cells lining the mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck, leading to their designation as squamous cell carcinomas. They may also begin in the salivary glands, though these types of tumors are rare. About 4% of all cancers in the U.S. affect this area. They affect men twice as often as women and are most likely to occur in people over 50. An estimated 65,000 individuals are diagnosed with head and neck cancers every year.
Head and neck cancers are categorized by the region of the head and neck where they form. These tumors affect the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, paranasal sinuses, nasal cavity and (as mentioned, less frequently) the salivary glands. Cancers affecting the brain, eyes, esophagus, thyroid gland, scalp, and skin, muscles and bones of the head and neck are not classified as head and neck cancers.
75% of head and neck cancers can be attributed to tobacco and alcohol use. People who use both have an even higher risk of developing these cancers than individuals who use either one or the other. Other risk factors include human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16, betel quid, preserved or salted foods, poor oral hygiene, occupational exposure, radiation, Epstein-Barr virus and Asian ancestry.
However, as with all preventive care, with early detection, many head and neck cancers respond effectively to treatment.
If you are experiencing symptoms of head and neck cancer, such as a lump or sore that doesn’t heal, difficulty swallowing, ear or neck pain or voice changes, please call us at (248) 844-2936 to schedule an appointment.