Head and neck cancers are a group of cancers that originate from the base of skull to the clavicles. It comprises diverse diagnoses of cancers that begin in the sinuses, throat, mouth, salivary glands, and larynx. Cancers in this region have a variety of causes including use of alcohol and tobacco. Head and neck cancers often present as a lump or sore that does not go away. It can be painful or painless. In some cases, the mass can cause difficulty swallowing or even breathing and may cause a hoarse voice. There are many non-malignant causes of these symptoms and concerned patients should be evaluated by a physician or dentist.
April is Oral, Head & Neck Cancer Awareness Month and Arizona Oncology, a practice in The US Oncology Network, would like to remind both men and women to speak with their healthcare providers about getting screened for the disease.
Oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women and occur most often in the tongue, tonsils and oropharynx, gums, floor of the mouth, and other parts of the mouth. It is estimated that approximately 39,500 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer in the United States this year, and an estimated 7,500 will lose their lives to the disease (American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures, 2015).