Head and Neck Cancer. Know the Causes & Treatments.

To get relief from head and neck cancer you should know the causes and treatment properly. Here is everything to let you know about it.

Head and neck cancer is a group of diseases that develop inside or near the throat, voice box, nose, sinuses, or mouth. All these cancers begin when the cells in the head or neck part go out of control and crowd the normal cells. This makes it harder for the body to function normally. Cancer cells in the head or neck spread to other parts of the body, sometimes traveling to the lungs where they can grow. Tobacco and alcohol are among the leading causes of head and neck cancer. Worldwide, this cancer causes more than 650,000 cases and 330,000 deaths annually.

What is Head and Neck Cancer?

Cancer is the sum of the various diseases that initially form inside the cell. Cancer cells, in turn, grow and break down to form mutable or innumerable new cells. Simply put, cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cells, which attacks and damages the surrounding cells and tissues. Head and neck cancers are a combination of cancers of the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands.

The head and neck surround various organs, such as the mouth, nose, brain, salivary glands, sinuses, throat, and lymph glands. Thus, there are 6 most common types of these cancers that account for 6 percent of all cancers worldwide. Most of it is in the mouth, and older men have the highest risk of developing this cancer.

Common Types

Men are about three times more likely to get the disease than women. According to the part of the body, the head and neck cancers are classified where they occur. Head and neck cancer naturally include:

  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Tonsil cancer

Laryngeal Cancer 

Laryngeal cancer starts in the voice box. It puts a cap on your bones when you eat or drink to prevent food and fluids from entering. It is a type of throat cancer and one of the most common forms of head and neck cancer. Patients with laryngeal cancer need voice rehabilitation after treatment to learn how to speak again.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer. It happens at the time of growing cells in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat. This type of cancer is rare and affects less than a million people in North America each year. Nasopharyngeal cancer is often caught in its later stages because the disease does not cause symptoms in the early stages.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer. It starts at the bottom of the throat on the side and back of the voice box which is the lower part of the throat that surrounds the garage. This part is also called a gullet.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer

It forms just behind the nose where air enters the throat. This type of cancer can develop in the air-filled areas around the nasal cavity called the paranasal sinuses. Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses cancers are uncommon.

Salivary Gland Cancer

The glands produce saliva to break down food where salivary gland cancer is found. It is similar to other abnormal cancers.

Oral Cancer

This cancer is formed in the mouth. Oral cavity includes the inner lining of the lips and cheeks, the lining of the lips, the teeth, the gums, the front of the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and the roof of the mouth. It is a very common cancer in men.

Oropharyngeal Cancer 

Oropharyngeal cancer forms in the oropharynx, just behind the mouth. It includes the tonsils, the back of the roof of the mouth, and the side and back walls of the throat. Tobacco and alcohol use can increase the risk of this cancer in any person.

Tonsil Cancer 

Some people may get tonsil cancer due to lifestyle choices or any other situation. You are more likely to get tonsil cancer if you drink alcohol or smoke, get infected with the virus HPV or HIV, or be older than 50 years or older.

If you are a human being or have received an organ transplant, you are more likely to get tonsil cancer.

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer:

Due to the different structures present in the head and neck area, the signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer depend on the structure being affected. Cancer of the head and neck involves many body parts. However, there are some common signs and symptoms, which are:

  • Swelling of the neck
  • Chronic cough
  • Weight loss (10% of total body weight) Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
  • Increased lymph glands in the neck area
  • Headache
  • Numbness of the mouth

Common Causes

There can be many causes of head and neck cancer. Any cell in our body can become cancerous due to mutations. These mutations can occur for a variety of reasons. Among those reasons, some common reasons are the followings:

  • Chewing tobacco or drink
  • Excess alcohol
  • Eating inadequate food
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • Hematopoietic stem cell transplantation
  • Lack of nutrition
  • Dust, metal particles
  • Exposure to radioactive substances and harmful X-rays.

How to Diagnose?

Head and neck cancer has an advantage, it can be diagnosed at an early stage. Usually a medical history with proper clinical examination helps in diagnosis. The common or conventional tests are:

  • Physical examination: Oral and nasal cavities, throat, neck, and tongue are examined with the help of small mirrors and/or light. The doctor may get lumps or swelling in the neck, lips, gums, and chin
  • Biopsy, endoscopy
  • Blood or urine test
  • X-ray
  • CT scan: It is a combination of detailed images of the neck and the internal organs of the head
  • MRI: It is a powerful magnet that attaches to a computer. It also makes detailed pictures of the inside of the head and neck
  • PET Scan: It is a specially modified and appropriate method. Cancer cells or suspicious cells absorb it and it appears as a dark spot on the scan
  • Oral cavity examination which usually includes physical examination
  • Examination of salivary or salivary glands
  • Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity examination
  • Pharyngeal examination
  • Lymph node and upper part of the neck.

Risk Factors of Head and Neck Cancer

There are some things that multiply the risk of head and neck cancer. Awareness of these issues is important.

We have many things on our heads and necks. This includes laryngeal cancer. Smoking plays a major role here. In addition, tobacco, betel leaf if we use, we chew them for a long time in the tongue, leave them, from there the gums, the tongue, the back of the tongue — they all have a direct connection with cancer. They have less to do with cancer of the respiratory tract and esophagus. Smoking is mostly responsible for this.

Our food habits and some drugs are also responsible. Smoking and tobacco, white leaves, betel leaf, betel nut, etc. are mainly increasing the risk factors of head and neck cancer.

Head and Neck Cancer Treatments


Once the head and neck cancer is diagnosed, the doctor begins immediate treatment. There are some common medical procedures that we have mentioned below. According to the medical examination report, the doctor fixes the person’s medical procedure. The type of therapy varies depending on the severity, stage, and other ancillary factors.


Surgery is the most common type of treatment even for this cancer. In general, the main goal is to completely eliminate cancer or infected cells.

Radiation Therapy: 

Radiation therapy is one of the most common types of treatment. There are different types of radiation therapy, one of which is proton therapy.


Topical docetaxel-based chemotherapy is extremely effective. It is used in advanced cancers of the head and neck.

Photo Dynamic 

Therapy: It is extremely effective in treating mucosal dysplasia and minor cancers of the head and neck.

Targeted Therapy: 

This method uses certain drugs or ingredients to attack specific cancer cells without targeting normal cells.

Proton Therapy

The latest version of the Head and Neck Tumor Guide uses proton therapy as one of the standard treatments for head and neck tumors. Proton therapy can be selected based on tumor location, clinical stage, physician experience, and nursing support assessment.

Proton therapy is currently the most advanced radiotherapy method for tumors that work by destroying the DNA of cancer cells. It is protected from radiation, thereby reducing unwanted complications and side effects.

Benefits of Proton Therapy

  • Reduces short-term and long-term side effects
  • It has been shown to be effective against adult and childhood cancers
  • Tumors and cancer cells reduce the risk of damage to nearby healthy tissues and organs
  • Treatment reduces the chances of developing a minor tumor
  • Patients treated with radiotherapy can also be re-prototyped and used for recurrent tumors
  • The treatment dose may be higher than X-ray radiotherapy and there is room to increase the dose
  • Improve the lifestyle during and after treatment.

What Type of Cancer Proton Therapy Actually Treats?

  • Recurrent head and neck cancer
  • Base cancer of the scalp
  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Salivary adenocarcinoma
  • Sinus cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Oropharyngeal carcinoma
  • Tongue cancer
  • Tonsil cancer

Cancer is a disease that a single method cannot control. There are three main treatments for cancer: surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. A lot of the time here the three need to be put together. A lot of the time you just have to understand the place and do the surgery. Many times it is possible to understand the place only by doing radiotherapy and chemotherapy. However, it is not possible to control it with one treatment. 

Essential Tips to Reduce the Risk of Head and Neck Cancer:

  • Avoid drinking frequent or heavy alcohol
  • Do not combine the use of alcohol and tobacco
  • Do not return to smoking or drinking after treatment
  • Avoid prolonged sun exposure
  • Maintain good oral hygiene at home and see your dentist regularly
  • Be aware of the dangers of HPV
  • Fine particle filter.


Head and neck cancer is caused by a variety of factors that you know about. However, along with the diagnosis, the causes you should investigate so that you can avoid them later. We have to give up some of these foods that cause cancer. Avoiding smoking, tobacco use, chewing gum for a long time, etc. can prevent complex diseases like head and neck cancer.