Head And Neck Cancer: Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment, And More
There are many things that are important to know about head and neck cancer. Here's what to keep in mind about it in addition to symptoms and treatment
Cancers that originate in the neck and head zones due to infections or other diseases are termed as head and neck cancers. The symptoms of cancer show up in the moist surface of the crucial zones of the head and neck. The cells in these areas are known as squamous cells. The cancer virus affects the most delicate areas, such as the nose, throat, or mouth. Under the head and neck cancers, the squamous cells are being affected in particular zones. The cancer-associated with squamous cells is also known as squamous carcinomas. Medical experts have categorized the head and neck cancers into different vital parts that are prone to cancer virus. Here is a detailed description of the separate categories of the most prone areas.
Oral Cavity: Under the oral cavity category, the cancer virus affects the lips, tongue, inside the cheeks, gums, and the area under the tongue. These are the areas that can get affected due to the oral cavity and can lead to serious cancer problems.
Pharynx: Pharynx is the medical term for the throat. It is a tube of 5 inches that starts underneath the nose. The pharynx is medically categorized into three parts hypopharynx, oropharynx, and nasopharynx. All of these parts of the pharynx are prone to cancer.
Larynx: The larynx is also known as the voice box of the body. Under this category, the vocal cords are vital to get damaged due to the cancer virus and be the reason for causing head or neck cancer.
Thyroid: The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck that produces hormones for regulating things like heart rate, blood pressure, core body temperature and more. This cancer that occurs in the cells of the thyroid is becoming more common in the US. Some doctors believe this is related to improving healthcare technology that is helping them to find smaller cancer cells that may have gone undiscovered in the past.
Potential Causes of Head or Neck Cancer
Cancer is not always caused by one centralized reason in a person’s life. There are many things that however have been shown to lead to a higher risk for cancer onset.
Here are some of those significant risks:
- The use of alcohol and tobacco has come to be known as a profound reason for disease. Chewing, snuffing, or smoking tobacco is a leading cause of deteriorating health and risk of cancer. The habit of chewing or snuffing tobacco increases the risk of cancer in oropharynx, larynx, oral cavity, and hypopharynx. One survey showed that more than 755 of cancer cases are due to alcohol and tobacco consumption.
- Some infections can lead to cancer cell mutations. If you are suffering from an infection such as HPV or HPV type 16, the type 16 HPV is one of the significant risk factors for the cause of head or neck cancer. This infection affects the oropharyngeal cancers and tonsils. These are the vital parts that are mostly affected by cancer, causing infections. The medical experts are taking remedies to control the increasing factors of HPV infection to suppress the cancer patient count.
Additional Head and Neck Cancer Risk Factors
Additional risk factors should be controlled for individuals looking to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some of the other risk factors that can be responsible for head or neck cancer are:
- Salted foods- Consumption of salted foods from childhood and continuing it throughout your life is a factor of risk for causing nasopharyngeal cancer. It is better to minimize the consumption of salted foods to suppress the adverse effect on health.
- Oral Health- If you are not regular in brushing your teeth or do not maintain good oral hygiene, then you are under the risk of oral cancer. You may also want to restrict the use of mouthwash regularly to avoid cancer-causing symptoms. Mouthwash products can consist of alcohol contents that affect oral health in the long run.
- Occupation Exposure- If your work involves maximum exposure to a product like wood dust for example; this is a high-risk factor that could lead you to suffer from nasopharyngeal cancer. Some other industrial exposure also plays a significant role in deteriorating the body health.
- Radiation Exposure- If your body is exposed to adverse amounts of radiation over long periods of time, a risk of salivary gland cancer and other neck cancers can begin.
Cures and Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer
As we all know, there is not yet a cure for cancer. However, new treatments continue to emerge including those under clinical trials. One of those treatments comes before surgery, chemotherapy or radiation therapy. That treatment is called Multikine. This investigational therapy is comprised of a mixture of cytokines; a combination of molecules and proteins (interleukins, interferons, chemokines, and colony stimulating factors) derived from the stimulation in the culture of normal immune system cells.
This neoadjuvant therapy that has been developed by Cel-Sci Corporation, is under trial for patients with squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, or SCCHN. In clinical studies conducted to date, and in an ongoing Phase III clinical trial, Multikine is administered prior to any other cancer therapy because it is generally accepted in the scientific community that this represents the period when the anti-tumor immune response still has the potential to be more fully activated. If it were to be approved for use following completion of the clinical development program, Multikine could be part of the next generation of cancer immunotherapy.