Head and Neck Cancer- Signs and Symptoms

Head and Neck Cancer- Signs and Symptoms
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Head and neck cancer is the term used to describe a wide range of malignant tumours originating in the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT). Worldwide, there are approximately 560,000 new cases of head and neck cancer diagnosed and 300,000 deaths each year.

Head and neck cancer is the term used, to describe malignant tumours originating in the upper aerodigestive tract (UADT), including the oral cavity, larynx, pharynx and nasopharynx. The vast majority (90%) of Head and Neck cancers are Squamous Cell Carcinomas (HNSCC) arising from the epithelial membranes (mucus linings) of this region.

The Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor

(EGFR/ErbB1), which is critical for tumour growth3 is expressed in at least 90% of head and neck cancers.

Incidence Of Head And Neck Cancer

-Approximately 560,000 cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed, and 300,000 patients die annually.

– Incidence rates are more than twice as high in men than in women.

-Oral cavity cancer is the most common type of head and neck cancer, with 240,000 cases diagnosed every year, while cancers of the larynx, pharynx, thyroid and nasopharynx are less common. -The incidence of oral cavity cancer has been increasing specifically among younger people (less than 45 years of age); this is, thought to be due to a higher rate of sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection.

Risk Factors For Developing Head And Neck Cancer

  • Lifestyle and environmental risk factors.
  • Tobacco and alcohol (7 out of 10 cases of head and neck cancer. Heavy drinkers and heavy smokers have 35 times increased risk in comparison to those who do not drink or smoke.) • HPV, with substantial evidence from large epidemiological studies. HPV DNA was found in most cases specially in young patients.

Stages of Head and Neck Cancer


T for ‘tumour’

N for ‘nodes’

M for ‘metastasis’


GRADE 1- Cells differ from normal cells and are well differentiated having mild dysplasia. GRADE 2- Cells are abnormal and are moderately differentiated.

GRADE 3- Cells are very abnormal and are poorly differentiated.

GRADE 4- Cells are immature and undifferentiated. A cell of origin is difficult to determine.


STAGE 0- Carcinoma insitu.

STAGE 1- Tumor limited to the tissue of origin.

Smaller than 8 cms and doesn’t spread to lymph nodes. Grade-0

STAGE 2- limited growth and locally spread. Less than 8 cms and spreads to lymph nodes. High-grade Grade-2 and Grade-3

STAGE 3- Extensive local and regional spread. More than one place on the affected areas and has not spread.

to lymph nodes with no distant spread. Grade-2 and Grade-3.

STAGE 4- Distant metastasis may or may not spread to lymph nodes.

Signs And Symptoms Of Head And Neck Cancer

  • Oral ulceration
  • A chronic sore throat
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Earache
  • Headaches
  • Unusual bleeding in the mouth
  • A discolouration on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth Nasal obstruction • Pain
  • Numbness of the face
  • Trouble when breathing or speaking

Head And Neck Cancer Diagnosis

-Early diagnosis in head and neck cancer is vital as patients who present with early-stage disease have significantly better outcomes than those who present with late-stage disease.

-Routine physical examination, including a thorough oral examination, is the best way to detect head and neck cancers before they become symptomatic.

– Definitive diagnosis usually requires a biopsy.

– Imaging tests, such as Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or Positron Emission Tomography (PET), endoscopy and fine- needle aspiration of any neck mass.

Treatment Options For Head And Neck Cancer

  • The main treatment options for head and neck cancers are surgery.
  • Radiotherapy -radiation to the head and neck, using high-energy rays such as X-rays to destroy cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy drugs designed to kill head and neck cancer cells
  • treatment used will depend on the site and disease stage as well as on the patient’s overall health status.
  • Head and neck surgery to remove the tumour
  • Radioactive iodine therapy (for thyroid cancer)

Head And Neck Cancer Treatment At Yashoda Hospital

Patients are seen and evaluated in a multimodality environment by a team of specialists in each malignancy such as Head and Neck, Breast, or Gynecology. Treatment decisions are then made in multidisciplinary tumour boards where the specialists collaboratively discuss the plan of treatment. The emphasis is on combining all modalities of treatment in the right combination to achieve the best results while minimizing the side effects. The main focus is on organ conservation surgery to improve the quality of life without affecting the chances of cure. The Department of Oncology at Yashoda Cancer Institute, an exclusive cancer centre with NABH and NABL accreditations and ISO 9001 and ISO 14001, certifications in Delhi NCR, Yashoda Cancer Institute has the right combination of technology and workforce to ensure world-class treatment, which makes it the best cancer treatment hospital in Sanjay Nagar Ghaziabad.

Cost Of Head And Neck Cancer Treatment In India

Depending upon the patient’s severity of the illness, the approximated cost of head and neck cancer treatment ranges between 3 lacs to 6 lacs.

Specialist For Head And Neck Treatment At Yashoda Hospital, Sanjay Nagar, Ghaziabad

Dr A.K. Tyagi (Surgical Oncologist)

Dr. (Brig.) Arvind Kumar Tyagi is the Director of Surgical Oncology at Yashoda Cancer Institute. He possesses more than 30 years of medical experience. He pursued his fellowship and training in surgical oncology from the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai. He has had an exceptional career in the armed forces where he served for almost 30 years.

Dr. Nandini Ramaswamy (Plastic Surgeon)

Dr. Nandini Ramaswamy has worked in the most renowned and reputed Indian & international organizations and considered one of the best plastic surgeons if some part needs to be reconstructed on account of surgery.

Having built the centre of excellence in hand and reconstructive microsurgery with special emphasis on complex microsurgical reconstructions and replantation of amputated parts at Yashoda Hospital & Research Centre, Ghaziabad, She started microvascular free tissue transfer and microvascular limb salvage post-trauma at Yashoda hospital having worked in various sub-specialities of plastic surgery including cleft lip and palate, congenital deformities of hand, trauma (maxillofacial, hand, lower limb), oncoplastic (breast, head & neck and extremity) reconstruction, microvascular free tissue transfer and cosmetic procedures (liposuction, abdominoplasty, breast reduction & augmentation, facelift & brow lift, rhinoplasty, botox, fillers and hair transplant). She aims to add aesthetics in onco-constructions.

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Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital

Yashoda Hospital is one of the best super specialty hospitals in Ghaziabad, Noida & Delhi NCR. Yashoda Hospital aims at providing the best healthcare services across the country and not just in Delhi NCR, Ghaziabad & Noida. Being a super speciality hospital, Yashoda Hospital has a number of dedicated specialities under one roof- gastroenterology, general surgery, obstetrics & gynaecology, cardiology, pulmonology & internal medicine, orthopedics, urology and many more.

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