What is Head and Neck Cancer?

Head and Neck Cancer (HNC) includes cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, thyroid, and lymph nodes in the neck.

Symptoms of HNC include a canker-like sore in the mouth, trouble swallowing, hoarseness, a sore throat, ear pain, swollen glands, sinus problems, or a lump in the neck. HNCs are often discovered after repeated treatments fail to treat persistent symptoms.

Every year more than half-a-million people throughout the world are diagnosed with HNC. HNC is the fifth most common form of cancer in the US, and every day 30 Americans die from these cancers.

HNC is increasing, especially in people younger than 40, even when lacking the traditional risk factors of tobacco and alcohol use.

Certain strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV) have been linked to some forms of HNCs in both males and females, and can be transmitted orally. Oral HPV Infection is three times more common in men than in women.

Treatment often involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of these. In addition to altering physical appearance, HNC treatments often cause patients long-term difficulties with eating, swallowing, and speaking.

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