Lumps in the neck, persistent nosebleeds, and mouth ulcers. These are among the common symptoms of otolaryngology cancer, a group of cancers that affect the soft tissues of the head and neck. Here’s basic information that will get you started on your, hopefully, successful fight against otolaryngology cancer.
Diagnostic Tools Used
Lumps in the neck can be manually examined by an ENT doctor, usually by using his fingers and determining the characteristics of the mass. Not all lumps require surgery, of course, since some lumps can be treated with medications, even left as is. Other lumps may require more investigation into their specific location in the head or neck and into their nature.
Many types of head and neck cancer require imaging tests, such as ultrasound scans, CT scans, and MRI scans, as well as fine needle biopsy. These diagnostic tests aid the doctor in determining the need for surgical removal of the tumor as part of the diagnostic process (i.e., determine the likelihood of cancer in a biopsy) and of the treatment plan. This is true in thyroid lumps.
The surgical removal of lumps can be done either under local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Your doctor will determine which type suits your physical condition and medical needs. For example, general anesthesia is required for the removal of tumors in the voice box while a local anesthesia is suitable for nose cancer.
Nasal endoscopy is used in the determination of the absence or presence of nose cancer and other types of cancer in the throat including the voice box. But for cancers down the esophagus, an oesophagoscopy can be recommended.
Treatment Options Considered
Cancers of the head and throat can be successfully treated with certain conditions. Early detection is crucial as the earlier cancer is diagnosed, the easier it is to cure with the treatment options available to your doctor. Early treatment can also mean lesser side effects.
For these cancers, the main treatments include surgery for the partial or complete removal of the tumor, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Every patient’s condition is unique and, thus, your treatment plan will be customized for the best possible results. Your doctor will carefully consider the type and extent of the cancer in your body and then formulate an exact treatment plan.
In nasopharyngeal cancer, chemotherapy directly administered into a vein and radiotherapy are the main line of treatment; these are administered over several weeks. Surgery may be required for initial diagnosis of nasopharyngeal cancer but it isn’t normally used in its treatment; the back of the nose can be a tricky location to operate on.
In thyroid cancer, surgery is performed for the removal of the tumor in the thyroid, perhaps even the affected lymph nodes in the neck. Afterwards, radioactive iodine treatment will likely be administered to kill the remaining cancer cells.
Side effects are to be expected no matter the treatment options considered. But stick it out and you can become a cancer survivor soon enough!
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