Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week® was April 2 – 9, 2017. If you read our article on conditions and disease states that can require a feeding tube, you may remember seeing head and neck cancer on the list.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, head and neck cancer accounts for 5 to 10% of all cancers in the United States. Head and neck cancer is more common in people over age 50 and three times more common in men than in women. If detected early, head and neck cancer is often curable. It can even be prevented easily through some basic lifestyle changes. For these reasons, we want to highlight some of the causes, symptoms and prevention measures associated with these cancers.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat and lymph nodes in the neck.
Some symptoms are:
- A lump or sore that does not heal
- A sore throat that does not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- A change or hoarseness in the voice
The National Cancer Institute reviews common causes on their website. They state that alcohol and tobacco use are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancer and that at least 75% of head and neck cancer is caused by tobacco and alcohol use. The Cleveland Clinic recommends you quit using tobacco products and reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption to prevent these types of cancer.
After treatment, recovery from head and neck cancer may involve working with rehabilitation specialists and other experts to cope with side effects, such as hearing loss, difficulty speaking, difficulty breathing or—of course—difficulty eating, according to Mayo Clinic.
Do you or a loved one have head or neck cancer? Share your story with us on Facebook.