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Prompt Action
Can Save Your Life

Head and neck cancer refers to malignant growths and tumors that affect various structures in the head and neck region, including the mouth, throat, larynx, sinuses, and salivary glands. Often arising from the squamous cells lining these areas, head and neck cancer can lead to symptoms like lumps or sores, persistent throat pain, difficulty swallowing, or changes in voice. If you identify any of the signs or symptoms of head and neck cancer, you must contact a fellowship-trained surgeon promptly to initiate the treatment.

Symptoms of Head & Neck Cancer:

  • Persistent sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump or sore that doesn’t heal
  • Pain in the mouth, throat, or ear
  • Changes in voice, such as persistent hoarseness
  • Swelling or lumps in the neck
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears
  • Nasal congestion or chronic sinus infections
  • Numbness or paralysis of facial muscles

Types of Head & Neck Cancer

Sinus Cancer

Sinus cancer refers to malignancies that develop in the paranasal sinuses, hollow spaces around the nose connected to the nasal cavity. These cancers are relatively rare but can cause persistent nasal congestion, sinus pressure, facial pain or swelling, nosebleeds, and vision changes. Sinus cancer is often diagnosed at advanced stages because these symptoms are nonspecific and often misattributed.

Nasal Cancer

Nasal cancer develops in the nasal cavity or paranasal sinuses. While rare, it presents symptoms such as nasal congestion, nosebleeds, facial pain or numbness, and vision changes. Like other cancers, early detection is vital for successful treatment. Treatment options often involve surgery to remove the tumor, followed by radiation therapy or chemotherapy to eradicate remaining cancer cells and prevent recurrence.

Diagnosis & Treatment

If you notice the signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, you must consult Dr. Sansoni immediately for prompt diagnosis. Dr. Sansoni will conduct a thorough physical examination, assess the affected areas, and possibly order imaging tests like CT scans, MRIs, or PET scans to visualize tumors and determine their extent. Additionally, biopsies may be performed to obtain tissue samples for laboratory analysis, confirming the presence of cancer cells.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Sansoni will collaborate with a multidisciplinary team to devise a personalized treatment plan. Treatment options may include surgery to remove tumors, radiation therapy to target cancer cells, chemotherapy to eradicate cancer throughout the body, or a combination of these modalities. Furthermore, depending on the type of cancer, surgical intervention may involve a laryngectomy to remove a cancer of the larynx, a partial glossectomy to remove a part of the tongue, or surgeries to address other structures.

Types of Head & Neck Cancer Surgery

Laryngectomy

A laryngectomy is a surgical procedure where the voice box (larynx) is partially or entirely removed. This procedure is often necessary in advanced cases of laryngeal cancer when other treatments have been unsuccessful. During a laryngectomy, Dr. Sansoni removes the affected tissue while preserving nearby structures crucial for swallowing and speech. Depending on the extent of the surgery, reconstructive techniques may be used to restore speech function post-operation, such as voice prostheses or tracheoesophageal puncture (TEP) procedures.

Partial Glossectomy

A partial glossectomy is a surgical procedure that removes part of the tongue affected by cancer while preserving as much healthy tissue as possible. If you are diagnosed with tongue cancer, Dr. Sansoni may recommend this procedure to remove the tumor and reduce the risk of cancer spreading. During the surgery, precise incisions are made to excise the affected portion of the tongue, followed by reconstruction to restore function and appearance.

Head & Neck Cancer FAQs

What is the recovery process like after head and neck cancer treatment?

Recovery after head and neck cancer treatment depends on the type and extent of treatment received. Surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy can all have different side effects and recovery timelines. Dr. Sansoni will provide personalized guidance on managing symptoms, wound care, and rehabilitation exercises to promote healing and restore function.

What are the potential complications of head and neck cancer treatment?

Head and neck cancer treatment can have various potential complications, including difficulty swallowing, changes in speech or voice, dental problems, lymphedema (swelling due to lymph fluid buildup), and long-term side effects such as dry mouth or difficulty breathing. Dr. Sansoni will discuss potential complications associated with your specific treatment plan and provide strategies to manage and mitigate these effects to enhance your quality of life after treatment.

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Your Consultation

Alaska Facial Plastic Surgery and ENT is your premier destination for comprehensive care in head and neck cancer treatment. Led by Dr. Sansoni, the sole fellowship-trained head and neck surgeon in Alaska, our practice is committed to offering comprehensive surgical oncology services. If you suspect you may have head and neck cancer, schedule your consultation with Dr. Sansoni without delay to initiate your treatment.

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