Facts about head and neck cancer - Make Sense Campaign
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Dr. Ankur Bahl

Today, one of the most common cancers in India is head and neck cancer—it constitutes approximately one-third of the total reported cases.
The term collectively refers to cancers occurring in the tongue, mouth, lips, throat or larynx. Other parts may include the soft or hard palate, nasal sinuses, ear, thyroid gland, and salivary gland.

Usage of tobacco and alcohol is associated with a high risk of developing head and neck cancer. A person who is exposed to Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may also develop head and neck cancer.

Non-healing ulcers in the oral cavity, bleeding from the oral cavity, a change in voice, swelling in the neck, difficulty opening the mouth, and whitish or reddish patches inside the mouth are some of the symptoms. A person should immediately consult a dentist or an ENT specialist in case he or she presents with any of these signs.
Most head and neck cancers are curable provided they are diagnosed and treated early.

The treatment may start with an ENT specialist or a dentist doing a preliminary screening to confirm the presence of cancer. The cancer is then treated through surgery or radiation by a medical oncologist.

This article has been written by Dr. Ankur Bahl, MD, DM (AIIMS), Sr. Consultant, Medical Oncology & Hematology, Cancer Specialist in Solid & Hematological Tumour, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket.