Most head and neck cancers are relatively preventable since they are highly correlated with tobacco use and alcohol consumption. They are also generally curable if caught early. Symptoms to watch out for include pain on swallowing, trouble breathing, ear pain, a lump in the neck that lasts longer than two weeks, a growth in the mouth, and bleeding from the mouth, nose or throat. Following is a description of cancers of the head and neck that are more difficult to detect early because of their location  :

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Malignant tissue in the bottom part of the pharynx is called hypopharyngeal cancer. The pharynx is a tube-like structure that goes from the back of the nose down to the windpipe and esophagus. Symptoms include sore throat and ear pain. Hypopharyngeal cancer is usually diagnosed through a physical examination, videostroboscopy, CT or MRI scan, chest x-ray, esophageal x-ray, or biopsy. Most hypopharyngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. Unfortunately, this cancer tends to be detected in later stages because early symptoms are rare. This cancer typically requires surgery to remove the malignant tissue, followed by radiation and/or chemotherapy treatment.

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer occurs when there is malignant tissue on any part of the larynx. This type of cancer is associated closely with tobacco use and alcohol. Symptoms include pain on swallowing, chronic hoarseness or change in the voice, trouble breathing, ear pain, a lump in the neck, persistent coughing - sometimes with bloody mucus. Over 90 percent of laryngeal cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which respond well to surgery and radiation and/or chemotherapy

For more information about the above topics

4501 Southlake Pkwy
Suite #200
Hoover, AL 35244