If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with head and neck cancer or are experiencing symptoms that may indicate the presence of the disease, do not hesitate to contact the team at the Bicher Oncology Center by calling or filling out our online contact form. Our years of experience and access to cutting edge treatments can mean a world of difference in your fight against cancer.
Primary Head and Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term that encompasses several different types of cancer. Some of the most common forms of primary head and neck cancer include cancers that originate in the following areas:
The salivary glands are located at the bottom of the mouth under the tongue near the jawbone, and are responsible for producing saliva.
The larynx is located in the neck and contains the vocal chords, as well as the epiglottis, which is a small flap of tissue that protects the airways from food and excess saliva.
Cancer in the oral cavity can originate in several different locations. Oral cavity cancers include:
- Lining of the cheeks and lips
- Bottom/floor of the mouth below the tongue
- Bony palette at the top of the mouth
- Back of the gum line behind the space occupied by the wisdom teeth
The anatomy of the throat is divided into four sections:
- Nasopharynx – The upper throat, located behind the nose
- Oropharynx – The middle part of the throat, located in the back of the mouth and includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils.
- Hypo pharynx – The lower part of the throat.
Paranasal Sinuses and Nasal Cavity
The paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces in the bones located around the nose. The nasal cavity makes up the space inside the nose.
Most forms of primary head and neck cancer originate in the squamous cells found in the lining of the mouth and mucus membranes.we’re here to help
Metastatic Head and Neck Cancer
Metastatic head and neck cancer originates in another organ or tissues in the body and later spreads (metastasizes) to somewhere in the head or neck cavity. In some cases, tumors that have spread from an unidentified part of the body make their way to the lymph nodes. This class of tumors is typically known as Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult (Unknown) Primary (PDQ®).
When tumors spread from other parts of the body to the head and neck, they typically tend to affect the:
- Thyroid gland
- Bones in the head and neck
Risk Factors and Causes of Head and Neck Cancer
With the exception of salivary gland cancers, the overwhelming cause (roughly 75%) for all incidences of head and neck cancers, particularly in the oral cavity, are attributed to excessive alcohol and tobacco use. People that use both alcohol and tobacco are at an even greater risk than those who use either substance on their own.
Other factors that can potentially heighten the risk for developing certain head and neck cancers include:
- Poor oral hygiene
- Being of Asian descent
- Prolonged exposure to occupational and industrial pollutants
- Radiation exposure
- Epstein Barr virus
- Over consumption of certain foods and substances such as processed and salted foods, Paan (betel quid), Maté, and all forms of tobacco including chewing and snuff.
Contact Bicher Oncology Center today to learn more about hyperthermia (heat) and low dose Intensity-Modulated Radiation Therapy (IMRT) for head and neck cancer in Los Angeles.