Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, sinuses, nose and throat.  At MaineHealth, our cancer specialists provide the full range of treatment for patients with head and neck cancer. Early detection is important for the most effective treatment.

What is head and neck cancer? 

Head and neck cancer includes cancers that affect several areas, including the:

  • Mouth
  • Lips
  • Nose and sinuses
  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Larynx
  • Salivary glands
  • Lymph nodes in neck
  • Skin

Tobacco use increases your risk

Many tobacco uses include smokeless methods like spitting tobacco. These methods highly increase the risk of developing head or neck cancer. Avoiding tobacco and alcohol, and limiting sun time can help prevent head and neck cancers. Talk to your doctor if you have used tobacco and you are concerned about cancer. Other risks include:

  • HPV exposure
  • Family history of cancer

Head and neck cancer symptoms

Head and neck cancer symptoms can be detected very early. Many head and neck cancers can be cured if they are caught early enough. Talk to you doctor if you are experiencing symptoms associated with head and neck cancer. Some symptoms include:

  • Lump, sore, or growth that doesn’t go away
  • Blood in saliva
  • Swallowing issues
  • Ear pain
  • Voice changes
  • Sore throat that does not heal
  • Feeling overly tired

Head and neck cancer treatment

Patients have better treatment outcomes when their cancer is diagnosed early. Examples of treatment include:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation
  • Targeted therapies.

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