Head and Neck Tumors

Cancers of the head and neck are amongst the few types of cancer for which a specific cause can be identified. Patients who report the symptoms you will find below will be examined by their ENT doctor in order to determine whether or not they may have a head or neck tumor. It should be noted that when examined, patients with head and neck tumors often admit to being smokers and/or frequent consumers of substantial amounts of alcohol. Studies show that it is actually quite uncommon for ENT doctors to treat patients with head and neck tumors who do not smoke or drink excessively.

The most common areas where we see head and neck tumors are the oral cavity, pharynx, mouth, and tongue. Head and neck tumors typically occur above the collarbone area and can be both malignant and benign. Below you will find information on some of the symptoms associated with head and neck tumors. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important for you to contact our ENT clinics located in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth.

Symptoms The following are the most common signs and symptoms of head and neck tumors:

  • Persistent pain in the throat
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing
  • Persistent hoarseness or a change in voice
  • Pain in the ear
  • Bleeding in the mouth or throat

Less common signs of head and neck tumors are as follows:

  • Lump or thickening in oral soft tissues
  • Soreness or feeling that something is stuck in throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Difficulty moving the jaw or tongue
  • Numbness of the tongue or other parts of the mouth
  • Swelling of the jaw, which may cause dentures to become uncomfortable

The majority of head and neck tumors originate in the oral cavity, which means that sores and lesions are one of the main warning signs. There are two types of lesions that could indicate a head or neck tumor – leukoplakia (white lesions) and erythroplakia (red lesions). Red lesions are far more destructive and have a greater potential for becoming cancerous.

Causes There are a handful of factors that may lead to head or neck tumors, including smoking, smokeless tobacco, secondhand smoke, excessive alcohol intake, asbestos exposure, and HPV infection. Other less common causes of head and neck tumors include sun exposure, Epstein-Barr virus infection, consumption of certain preservatives, and poor oral hygiene.
Treatment After careful examination, your ENT doctor will develop a treatment plan that is best suited for your particular type of head or neck tumor. Treatment options may include the following:

  • Surgery – Less invasive surgeries are becoming more widespread and are a great way to treat certain types of head and neck tumors while still preserving critical structures
  • Laser surgery – This is an innovative treatment method that is commonly used to remove certain types of throat cancer
  • Radiation oncology
  • Chemotherapy

In order for your ENT doctor to properly diagnose a head or neck tumor, it is important he or she is given your full medical history and examines you when you first notice any of the above listed symptoms. Contact Central Park ENT today and visit us at any one of our locations in Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth.

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