Head and Neck Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions

Head and Neck Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions

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[MUSIC] What we call head and neck cancer is actually cancer
of the mouth and throat. It also includes cancer of
the glands in the neck. Lymph nodes and also salivary
glands and the thyroid gland. So one of the main
symptoms that people come to Johns Hopkins to be seen for
is a lump in their neck. Now you have a number of
different structures in the neck. We’re concerned about lumps that
grow larger than the width of your finger, larger than
about two centimeters, and have lasted for
more than six weeks or so. So lumpy is one important
symptom, others are difficulty with swallowing and speech,
pain, sore areas in the mouth, particularly areas that are red
or white, perhaps something that your dentist has seen
would be of concern. And then deep pain, pain that
lasts for more than a few weeks and particularly pain
that radiates or seems to involve your ear
on one side or the other. Deep ear pain is often missed as
being something that might be in the throat, but can be a sign
of head and neck cancer. [MUSIC] There are about 50,000
cases of head and neck cancer in
the United States each year, so with 400 million people, that’s
only about one in every 10,000. The people who are at risk for head and neck cancer
traditionally have been people who have a history
of tobacco use. Also, alcohol adding
to smoking or using chewing tobacco
increases the risk. So if you have a history of
having smoked more than a pack a day for more than 10 years
you are at increased risk for head neck cancer. In addition we’re finding
more and more patients who have cancer of the tonsils and
lingual tonsil or the back of tongue because
of a human papillomavirus. HPV is a sexually transmitted
virus and it causes other kinds of cancer such as
cancer of the uterine cervix. It has quite a lag time,
about 20 years from the time of exposure to the development of
cancer in some individuals. And does effect people
who are non-smokers. So most of the patients that we
see now a days with HPV related cancer are men in their fifth,
sixth, and seventh decades. [MUSIC] Cancer of the mouth and
throat is complex because of both the importance of
offering curative therapy but also maintaining good function. Your mouth, and throat,
are, obviously, involved in a lot of important things,
things that I’m doing right now, talking, and being seen in
public, but, also eating, and, obviously, breathing. And so, we combine
treatments to optimize cure, but also to maintain function. There are four basics types of
treatment that are used for head neck cancer. Surgery is one,
radiation therapy is the second, chemotherapy a third, and
more recently, immunotherapy. Which is similar to
chemotherapy, it’s a drug or treatment by intravenous therapy modality that’s
combined with others. Radiation and surgery are the
two mainstays of head and neck cancer treatment. Chemotherapy by itself doesn’t
cure head/neck cancer but can be used in combination
with the other therapies. And so the treatment is
designed, based on the stage and the site, to give us a best
chance of curing the cancer but also maintaining function. [MUSIC] When we’re deciding about
surgery for the head and neck, we attempt to minimize
the impact on the function and a lot of the tools that we
use are endoscopic, and so an effort to treat larynx cancer
for example with the laser or the new robotic surgery
that is useful for cancers of the back
of the throat. A lot of the cancers that we’re
seeing nowadays are rising in the tongue base, which is
the vertical part of your tongue that drops down
towards the voicebox. It’s way back in the back of
the mouth, and difficult to see. It’s also difficult for the surgeon to reach that
area with that instruments. The robot gives us
that opportunity by allowing an angled telescope
to visual the area. And instruments that come in
from the side of the mouth and are controlled by the surgeon
out of console next to the operating table. This allows us to remove
portions of tumor in the back of the tongue or the entire tumor
in the back of a tongue without having a bad impact or a negative impact on
swallowing and speech. [MUSIC] The first question people have
when they are seeking treatment for head and neck cancer is,
will I survive? Will I be cured? And that’s obviously our
top priority as well. But a second and
important question is, what will my life be like
after I’m done with therapy? And the cancer therapy for more
advanced tumors in particular is quite difficult to get through,
and you really need the support of a multi-disciplinary team
with speech therapists and other physical therapists to help you
with going through that therapy. Radiation therapy can leave
a person with dryness and difficulties swallowing. Surgery obviously can impact
speech and swallowing. And so we work to reduce the impact of those
therapies, by combining and focusing them to achieve
the highest likelihood of cure. And to maintain function throughout
the course of therapy. One of the important things, for
example, is to keep swallowing while you’re going
through treatment and so at John’s Hopkins our swallowing
therapist meet with each cancer patient at the multidisciplinary
clinic at the beginning of your visit and then meet with you
regularly on a weekly basis during treatment
to encourage and assist each individual to
maintain their best function. [MUSIC]

13 thoughts on “Head and Neck Cancer: Frequently Asked Questions”

  1. I have swollen lymph nodes on both sides, under my chin area. They have been swollen since before October of last year. There is no pain, and I have had tests, and have no infections. I have been on steroids and antibiotics already. With no change in my lymph nodes.
    I am scheduled to see an ENT tomorrow. My Dr said he is worried it might be cancer. I have no clue what kind or anything. I'm scared, and I don't know what to expect.
    I also have severe itching on my stomach and chest. Mild itching all over my body.

  2. my left lynphnode has been swollen for 3 and a half weeks is about the size of golf ball no pain they tested everything from mumps to cat scratch feaver and dont know im afraid to ask anyone if they think its cancer im 13

  3. I have come across some one who was unlucky to have huge Neck Cancer and had a history of smoking and drinking. I don't know what to say, it's really scary

  4. I smoked a pack every 3-4 days for the past 10 years I have ear pain every now and then my lymph nodes under my jaw swell up sometimes I had pressure all over my face and nose and eyes and the sides of my head next day woke up with sore throat and sneezing I don’t feel weak I havint lost any weight inside of my mouth seems fine I do have a small little lump under my Tongue by my inner gum no pain not noticeable no weird coloring I could just feel it with my tongue Any ideas on what it could be ?

  5. "कैंसर" एवं गठिया बाय और अन्य "बिमारियों" के "रोगियों" के लिए एक "खुशखबरी"

    कैंसर और कोई भी रोग चाहें शरीर के किसी भी हिस्से में हो, कैसा भी हो; कैंसर के लिए अत्यधिक लाभकारी "Oncoban " ( * ऑनको बैन * एक शुद्ध आयुर्वेदिक दवा है, जो शरीर को किसी भी प्रकार का नुकसान नही करती है।)
    म.प्र. के Bhopal में दी जाती हैं, कैंसर एवंबहुत ही जानलेवा बिमारी हैं जिससे बहुत अधिक मात्रा में लोग पीड़ित हैं।

    कैंसर के अलावा शरीर में कोई भी बिमारी हो उसका जङ से ईलाज कराने के लिए नीचे दिये नम्बर पर फोन करें।।

    आपसे मेरा अनुरोध हैं कि इस संदेश को ज्यादा से ज्यादा लोगों तक पहुँचाए ताकि किसी की कीमती जान बचाई जा सकें, "Ayurvedic Medicine" प्राप्त करने के लिए इस नंबर पर फोन करें:-

    ISRAR KHAN

    9644944786

    इस संदेश को Delete नही; फ़ॉर्वर्ड करें, ये नम्बर मध्य प्रदेश का लोकल नम्बर है ।

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    Hello Guys, I'm

    ISRAR KHAN

    मै आपके लिए अनजान व्यक्ति हूं, मुझे आपका नंबर Data Server से मिला है; घबराए नहीं , Please forward this msg from your MOBILE to all the *CONTACTS*.

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    इससे किसी जरूरतमंद की जान बच सकती है…
    plz share and forward it……

    अगर कोई कैंसर पेशेंट पड़ रहा है यह मेसेज तो दवाई के लिए दिए गए नंबर पे संपर्क करे।
    ISRAR KHAN

    9644944786

    Thanks…

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