Dr. Rakesh Neve is a renowned Surgical Oncologist in Pune and currently practicing at Life point Hospital, Pune. For the past 25 years, he has worked as a Surgical Oncologist. He is a member of the Indian Medical Association.
Warning signs of head and neck cancer
- Ulcer or wound in the mouth which is older than 6 weeks
- Restriction or problem in the opening of the mouth
- White or red patch that is not healing
- Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Lump in the neck
- Intolerance to spices owing to unknown reason
Major risk factor for head and neck cancer
Head and neck cancer in India is mainly attributed to the excessive consumption of tobacco. Not only chewing tobacco products, but even smoking would also predominantly cause oral cancer. Tobacco in any form, whether it is smoke, gutkha, paan or khaini can be a reason for oral cancer.
Sharp tooth pricks into the tongue (inside of cheeks) cause tongue cancer.
Certain viruses like HPV viruses are also responsible for throat cancer.
Chronic shouting might also cause laryngeal cancer.
Tobacco and alcohol are potent inducers of cancer.
Types of head and neck cancer
- Sinus and nasal cavity cancer
- Lip and oral cavity cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Oropharyngeal cancer
- Hypopharyngeal cancer
- Nasopharyngeal cancer
Head and neck cancer is 100% curable if detected early
Dr. Rakesh emphasizes, "The cure for any cancer depends on at what time it was detected. If the cancer is detected early, it can be completely curable. Head and neck cancer can be cured 100% if detected in the early stage. Stage I and II oral cancer are considered to be potentially curable.
Consulting the doctor earliest as the symptoms start aids in preventing any kind of deformity, speech problem, or eating problem while treating cancer."
Tips to prevent head and neck cancer
- Avoiding alcohol abuse
- Maintain good oral hygiene
- Any sharp tooth should be treated or capped to avoid injury to the insides of the cheeks or lips.
- Reduce the risk of catching HPV infection.
- Avoid going out in the polluted area, and use a mask as and when required.
- Always wear proper protective gear equipment in the occupational hazardous area to avoid the inhalation of poisonous gases.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can head and neck cancer spread to the brain?
2. Are men more prone to head and neck cancer?
It is nothing like that but because more men consume tobacco, they are at higher risk.
3. Are all neck masses cancerous?
Mostly, neck masses are not cancerous, only a few of them are.
(Edited by Renu Gupta)