What are Head and Neck Tumors?
Head and neck tumors refer to both benign and malignant tissue growth along the head and neck. Thyroid gland tumors and cancers of the muscles and bones of the head and neck are sometimes included in this list as well.
Causes of Head and Neck Tumors
The body’s cells divide to give birth to new cells. They function for a while and then die. Some cells do not die and simply continue to spread and will form a lump of tissue, disrupting the function of the body’s organs, particularly where the tumor is growing.
Some tumors are benign and do not affect the body’s normal function but they may still be removed to avoid further complications. Then there are malignant tumors that become cancerous – the cells will destroy the body and will eventually spread to other parts of the body. This is referred to as metastasis.
The most common symptom of a head and neck tumor is a sore or swelling that doesn’t heal. This is often the first sign of a tumor growing. Other symptoms of head and neck tumors include:
Risks and Complications
People above the age of 40 have a higher chance of developing cancerous head and neck tumors. The risk is also raised by people lacking in Vitamins A and B as well as with people who frequent tobacco use. Binge drinking of alcohol is another risk factor that needs to be avoided.
According to recent studies around 3-5% of all cancers within the United States are head and neck cancers. The studies also show that the condition is slightly more prevalent with men. One of the most common complications from head and neck tumors is metastasis. This is where the cancerous cells are no longer contained in just one area. They may move on and begin infecting other organs. This could lead to a total body shutdown, fatal in most cases.
Treatment Options for Head and Neck Tumors
Treatment for head and neck tumors – and eventual cancer – is split into three groups:
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