5 common types of head and neck cancer

Nasopharyngeal, larynx – lower pharynx, oral cavity, salivary glands, facial sinuses… are common cancers in the head and neck region.

Head and neck cancers are malignant tumors of the head and neck area, including the mouth, nose, throat, larynx – hypopharynx, and sinuses. This type of cancer is more common in men than women, especially those over the age of 50. Usually, head and neck cancers are named for the part of the body where they develop. Here are 5 common types of cancer and their accompanying symptoms.

Nasopharyngeal cancer

According to Dr. Tran Hai Binh, Deputy Head of Oncology Department of Tam Anh General Hospital, Hanoi, nasopharyngeal cancer is the most common cancer among head and neck cancers. Nasopharyngeal cancer arises from the lining of the dome, located at the top of the pharynx, just behind the nose, and below the base of the skull. Initially, when the tumor is small, the tumor usually has few symptoms, the patient does not pay attention and can be confused with other diseases such as rhinitis, sinusitis.

Doctor Hai Binh shared, when the tumor grew, the symptoms gradually became clear: stuffy nose, snorting blood, ringing in the ears, swollen lymph nodes in the neck (the lymph nodes gradually enlarge, without pain), migraine, other symptoms. Symptoms appear on the same side, for example on the right if the tumor is in the right arch. Risk factors for nasopharyngeal cancer are having Epstein-Barr virus, eating pickles, salted fish, polluted smoke, smoking, drinking alcohol…

Endoscopy patients screen for ENT disease at Tam Anh General Hospital. Photo: Hoai Pham

Laryngeal cancer – hypopharynx

Laryngeal – hypopharynx cancers are tumors that arise from the epithelial layer of the larynx – hypopharynx. Small tumors located in the larynx are called laryngeal cancers. Small tumors located in the lower throat are called hypopharyngeal cancers. However, many tumors are detected when they are large in size, they spread to each other and are difficult to distinguish from the larynx or hypopharynx, so they are often referred to as laryngeal – hypopharynx cancer.

Symptoms of cancer of the larynx – pharynx are hoarseness lasting, increasing, loss of voice, swallowing difficulty, choking, pain, increasing difficulty breathing, swollen neck lymph nodes, neck lymph nodes on the same side as the tumor. The disease is common in men (more than 90%) and people who have a habit of smoking, drinking alcohol, inhaling a lot of harmful emissions…

Oral cancer

Dr. Hai Binh said, oral cavity cancer is a group of diseases in the oral cavity including cancer of the tongue, cancer of the floor of the mouth, gums of the jaw, upper lip, lower lip, inner cheek mucosa… depending on the location. tumor origin. Early symptoms are usually a sensation of entrapment in the oral cavity, which may be accompanied by painful swallowing, increased salivation, difficulty speaking, and a palpable or visible tumor (eg, a motile tongue tumor). Risk factors related to eating habits: drinking alcohol, smoking, chewing betel nut, tooth decay…

Dr. BS Tran Hai Binh examines patients at Tam Anh General Hospital.  Photo: Linh Dang

Dr. BS Tran Hai Binh examines patients at Tam Anh General Hospital. Photo: Linh Dang

Salivary gland cancer

Hai Binh said, salivary gland cancer includes major and minor salivary glands, of which parotid gland tumors account for 80%, the rest are submandibular and sublingual gland tumors. Symptoms of salivary gland cancer are palpable solid tumors, gradually enlarged in the right or left parotid region, or under the jaw, which can cause pain… Certain risk factors for prostate cancer saliva such as exposure to ionizing radiation, some viruses (Epstein Barr, papilloma…), exposure to industrial dust (nickel dust, asbestos ..)

Facial sinus cancer

Facial sinus cancer is cancer that originates from the facial sinuses including: maxillary sinus, anterior ethmoid sinus, posterior ethmoid sinus, frontal sinus, and sphenoid sinus. The most common location is cancer in the maxillary and ethmoid sinuses. The sinuses are closely related to each other, so when damaged, they can easily spread to each other. Patients when coming to the examination at a late stage can be found in the sinuses. Initial symptoms are often confused with sinusitis, however, this phenomenon lasts a long time, worsens, antibiotic treatment does not help.

My Huyen


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