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Neck Cancer

Neck Cancer Causes

Neck cancers often metastasize from the upper aerodigestive tract and spread to the lymph nodes of the neck. Neck cancer is linked to certain lifestyle and environmental risk factors, including: smoking tobacco; excessive alcohol consumption; as well as certain subtypes of human papillomavirus.

Neck Cancer Definition

Neck cancer (or, more appropriately, head and neck cancer) pertains to a group of biologically related carcinomas that originate from the upper aerodigestive tract, including: the cavity (mouth), lip, paranasal sinuses, oral nasal cavity, larynx, and pharynx. In most cases, head and neck cancers originate from the epithelium or mucosal lining of the squamous cell regions.

Neck Cancer Diagnosis

Neck cancer may be suspected based on physical symptoms. To confirm the diagnosis, a needle biopsy may be taken of the lesion to obtain histopathologic information.

Neck Cancer Symptoms and Signs

Initially, neck cancer may present with harmless symptoms such as enlarged lymph nodes around the neck, a hoarser voice, or a sore throat. However, as the carcinoma progresses, symptoms may become chronic, including: swallowing difficulties; numbness or paralysis of face muscles; speech difficulties; sore, lump, or mass in the neck that doesn't heal; neck pain; unintended weight loss, bleeding from the mouth; as well as sinus congestion.

Neck Cancer Treatment

The standard modes of treatment for most types of neck cancers are surgical resection and radiation therapy. Other treatment strategies depend largely on the type of neck cancer involved.

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