Posts for: March, 2019
Learn more about the causes and ways to treat head and neck cancer.
Head and neck cancers aren’t as often discussed as other forms of cancer; however, it’s just as important that you understand the symptoms and warning signs that you might have head or neck cancer. As with any cancer, it’s important that you see a medical professional as soon as possible so the cancer can be caught early. From the office of our Chicago otolaryngologist Dr. Gordon Siegel at Midwest Ear, Nose, and Throat, find out more about head and neck cancer.
What are the different kinds of head and neck cancers?
Head and neck cancers can affect,
- The oral cavity (this includes everything from the gums to the lips and tongue)
- Pharynx (throat)
- Larynx (voice box)
- Sinus and nasal cavity
- Salivary glands
What causes head and neck cancers?
As you might imagine, tobacco use and alcohol consumption are the two most common risk factors for head and neck cancers, particularly cancers that affect the oral cavity, larynx and pharynx.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a certain strain of human papillomavirus (HPV) that has the potential to cause cancer this is something you’ll want to discuss with your Chicago ENT doctor to make sure that you are getting the proper head and neck cancers screening and routine checkups to detect symptoms early on.
What are the symptoms of head and neck cancers?
Symptoms will differ depending on the location of cancer. Symptoms may include,
- Painful swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Chronic hoarseness
- Persistent headaches
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Ear pain
- Sinus blockage
- Eye problems or vision changes
- Swelling around the jaw
- Facial swelling
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Issues with the way dentures fit
Any of these symptoms warrant a trip to our office for an evaluation, particularly if you have one or more risk factors.
How are head and neck cancers treated?
Your treatment will be based on several factors including the stage of your cancer, the location of the cancer, the age of the patient and the patient’s overall health. From there, we will work to determine which treatment option is right for you. Common treatment options include:
- Radiation therapy
- Targeted therapy
- A combination of different therapies
Are you experiencing any of the signs or symptoms above? Do you have any questions or concerns about changes to your ear, nose or throat health? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Dr. Siegel at Midwest Ear, Nose, and Throat is proud to serve the Chicago area. Call us today at (312) 988-7777 to schedule an appointment with us.
- Pain in your upper jaws or teeth, eyes, nose or forehead
- A yellowish-green discharge when you blow your nose
- Congestion caused from swelling in your sinuses
- Severe headaches and earaches
- A sore throat and persistent cough
- Use a humidifier, especially in your bedroom; this keeps the air in your house moist, which soothes your sinuses. Dry air irritates your nasal passages and can cause increased mucus production, resulting in congestion and a sinus infection.
- Try an over-the-counter nasal irrigation kit; these kits, when used daily, can keep your nasal passages clean and free of mucus so bacteria won’t have a place to breed, causing a sinus infection. The saline solution also works to soothe your nasal passages.
- Wash your hands often, and don’t touch your face, nose, mouth or eyes; this helps to prevent spreading germs and bacteria to other places of your body.
- Stop smoking, because it increases mucus production and irritates your sinuses, providing an environment perfect for bacteria.
- Avoid alcohol, because alcohol can make your sinuses irritated and swollen, resulting in a sinus infection.
- Eat healthy and take your vitamins, especially vitamin C, and get sufficient exercise to keep your immune system at its peak so you can fight off a sinus infection.