Head and neck cancers usually start in mucous membranes, the lining of the throat, mouth, and nose. In the US, they account for about three percent of all cancer diagnoses.
Common forms of head and neck cancer include:
- Oral cavity cancer
- Ear and temporal bone cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Voice box (larynx) cancer
- Throat cancer
- Thyroid and parathyroid cancer
- Sinus cancer
At Dignity Health Central California, we use advanced technology to provide faster, more precise treatments for all types of cancer. In addition, we offer a range of support services, including nurse navigators who can help guide you and your loved ones through every step of treatment.
Find a Doctor who offers personalized, healing care for head and neck cancer in Central California at your nearest location:
Head & Neck Cancer Symptoms
Head and neck cancers often cause symptoms in early stages of the disease. The good news is that the earlier cancer is treated, the more likely it is to be cured.
Symptoms of head and neck cancer include:
- Difficulty or pain with swallowing or speaking
- Change in your voice or hoarseness that persists
- Frequent sinus infections that don’t respond to treatment
- Swelling of the jaw, eyes, or under the chin
- Blocked sinuses
- Lumps or sores that don’t heal
- Numbness or difficulty using the face muscles
- Frequent headaches or pain in the upper teeth
- White or red patches on the gums
- Sore throat that persists
- Ringing in the ears, trouble hearing, or ear pain
- Nose bleeds or unusual bleeding in the mouth
Other conditions share many of these symptoms. A Dignity Health Central California doctor can determine whether or not cancer is really the cause.
What Causes Head & Neck Cancer?
Tobacco use in any form is the main risk factor for head and neck cancer. Doctors estimate that as many as 85 percent of cases are due to tobacco use. Research suggests marijuana use also increases the risk.
Other risk factors for head and neck cancer include:
- Being over age 40
- African American race
- Male gender
- Frequent and heavy alcohol use
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
- Poor nutrition
- Infection with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) or human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Prolonged sun exposure
- Poor oral hygiene
- Weakened immune system
Head & Neck Cancer Treatment at Dignity Health Central California
You and your doctor will decide on your treatment plan based on your personal goals as well as the type of cancer, it’s stage, and location. Standard treatment for head and neck cancer include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapies. Doctors will often recommend a combination of these therapies.
The best thing you can do to prevent head and neck cancer is quit smoking. Talk to your Dignity Health Central California doctor for advice on how to stop.
Dignity Health Central California hospitals offer advanced, innovative treatments for head and neck cancer in Bakersfield, Merced, San Andreas, and Stockton, CA.