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Head & Neck Cancer - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, Precautions & Risks

At Yashoda Cancer Institute, we understand the physical impact cancer can cause on a patient, therefore, we provide the support that caters to both the physical and emotional needs of the patient, before, during, and after treatment. Our Head and Neck Oncology department offer a wide range of services for patients such as endoscopic procedures, major and minor resections, skull base surgery, organ preservation surgeries, and complex reconstructions, including free flaps Robotic surgeries (Highest in Asia).

Our advanced approaches to head and neck cancer focus on preserving function, appearance, and achieving a cure designed to provide our patients with the best treatment and rehabilitation to minimize the morbidity of treatment.

Yashoda Head and Neck Cancer Program aim at maximizing the quality of life our patients will have after cancer treatment. Our resources are devoted to ensuring maximum comfort, which is right for you and your unique health needs by minimizing the impact of cancer and coping with the side effects of the intervention. With a team of highly qualified doctors and state-of-art facilities, we focus on achieving the most effective health outcomes for you and your family.

What Is Head And Neck Cancer?

Head and neck cancer is a form of cancer that occurs in the mouth, nose, salivary glands, throat, voice-box, oral cancers, or other head and neck areas. It generally occurs in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck. The different types of head and neck cancers are known as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck.

  • Oral Cavity Cancer
  • Oropharyngeal Cancer (tongue, tonsils, etc.)
  • Thyroid Cancers
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Cancers of the Larynx
  • Cancer of the salivary glands
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

What Are The Signals For Head And Neck Cancer?

Signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer include:

The most common symptom is aching or swelling or an ulcer in the head or neck that does not heal.

  • A patch of red or white color in the mouth.
  • Painful or painless lump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area.
  • Jaw pain
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Constant sore throat
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Ear pain or discharge
  • Double vision.
  • Foul mouth odor that is not usual.
  • Hoarseness or change in voice.
  • Lasting nasal congestion or Nasal obstruction.
  • Unusual nasal discharge, frequent nose bleeds, or both.
  • Weakness or numbness in the head and neck region.
  • Difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue, jaw, etc.
  • Traces of blood in the saliva or phlegm

How is Head And Neck Cancer Diagnosed?

  • Physical examination
  • HPV Testing
  • Endoscopy
  • Biopsy or FNAC
  • Staging Tests
  • USG
  • CT Scan
  • MRI
  • PET-CT

What Are The Possible Treatments For Head And Neck Cancer?

  • Surgical process: There are five types of surgeries performed for removing the cancer tumor:
  • Robotic Surgery: It is an advanced MIS technique that treats complex cancer cases by accessing through an incision and felicitates better surgical, cosmetic outcomes and can avoid chemoradiation.
  • Laser technology: With laser surgery, an early-stage tumor found in the larynx is targeted.
  • Excision: To remove a cancerous tumour and some surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Lymph node dissection or neck dissection: For advanced cancer treatment to remove lymph nodes in the neck.
  • Radiation therapy: Involve the use of high energy waves to kill cancer cells, limit toxicity, and improves results.
  • Chemotherapy: Involve the use of powerful medicines to kill cancer cells.
  • Targeted therapy: This therapy focuses on cancer's specific genes, proteins, or the tissue environment that contributes to cancer growth and survival.
  • Immunotherapy: This therapy involves the use of medicines that prompt the body's immune system or natural defenses to destroy cancer.

What Are The Precautions One Must Take To Avoid Head And Neck Cancer?

  • Avoid the use of tobacco in for of Gutka, etc.
  • Avoid the use of marijuana and excessive smoking.
  • Heavy consumption of alcohol is prohibited.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm with an adequate sun protection factor (SPF) regularly.
  • Protect yourself against HPV infection by getting the HPV vaccine and practicing safe sex.
  • Avoid excessive interaction with the sun.
  • Wear a protective face mask if you get exposed to toxic fumes and dust for a longer duration.
  • Maintain proper care of dentures, poorly fitted dentures can trap tobacco and alcohol's cancer-causing substances.
  • Drink lots of water.

Are There Any Risk Factors Involved?

Some of the major factors that lead to head and neck cancer include:

  • Tobacco: Chewing tobacco is the single most significant risk factor associated with head and neck cancer.
  • Smoking: Excessive smoking can increase the risk of such type of cancer.
  • Alcohol: Drinking alcohol is the second largest risk factor for cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, and oesophagus.
  • Gender: Males are twice more likely to develop head and neck cancer as compared to females.
  • Age: People over the age of 50 are more likely to develop head and neck cancer.
  • Certain illnesses: Certain kind of diseases such as Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and two inherited genetic syndromes—Fanconi anemia and dyskeratosis congenital are linked to head and neck cancer.
  • Sun exposure: Prolonged exposure to the sun may increase the risk of oral and lip cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: High doses of radiation therapy, particularly in the head and neck, tend to increase the risk of developing head and neck cancer.
  • Malnutrition: deficiencies of vitamins and nutrition may raise a patient's risk of developing the disease.
  • Vaping: Vaping e-cig also contributes to this type of cancer, although more studies are needed

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