Ohio ENT & Allergy

Our Locations

4275 Steels Pointe Rd.
Stow, OH 44224

4016 Massillon Road, Suite C
Uniontown, OH 44685

Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

Did you know? More than 55,000 Americans will develop cancer of the head and neck this year, and nearly 13,000 of them will die from it.

Early Detection of Head And Neck Cancer

Ohio ENT & Allergy asserts that tobacco is the most preventable cause of these deaths. Nevertheless, up to 200,000 people die each year from smoking-related illnesses in the United States alone. The good news is that the figure has begun to decrease as a result of the increasing number of Americans who have quit smoking. However, we remind smokers that switching to smokeless or spit tobacco is not a safe alternative. In fact, these tobacco users are merely changing the site of cancer risk from their lungs to their mouth. While lung cancer cases are down, cancers in the head and neck appear to be increasing. Luckily most head and neck cancers produce early symptoms, and are curable if caught. Therefore, we encourage you to know the warning signs so that you can alert your doctor of your symptoms as quickly as possible.

REMEMBER: Successful treatment of head and neck cancer is dependent on early detection. Knowing and recognizing the signs of head and neck cancer can save your life!

Symptoms Of Head And Neck Cancer

Ohio ENT & Allergy encourages review of the following:
A lump in the neck...Cancers that begin in the head or neck usually spread to lymph nodes in the neck before they spread elsewhere. A lump (or lumps) in the neck can be the first sign of mouth, throat, voice box (larynx), thyroid gland, or certain lymphomas or blood cancers. Such lumps are generally painless and continue to enlarge steadily. Of course, not all lumps are cancerous. However, if a lump in the neck lasts more than two weeks, you should see a physician as soon as possible.

Change in the voice...Most cancers in the larynx cause some change in voice. While most voice changes are not caused by cancer, you should not take chances. An otolaryngologist is a head and neck specialist who can examine your vocal cords easily and painlessly. If any hoarseness or other voice changes persist for more than two weeks you should see your physician. 

A growth in the mouth...Most cancers of the mouth or tongue cause a sore or swelling that doesn't go away. These sores and swellings may be painless unless they become infected. Bleeding may occur, but often not until late in the disease. However, if you find that lumps in the neck accompany an ulcer or swelling, you should alert a professional. Your dentist or doctor can determine if a biopsy (tissue sample test) is needed and can refer you to a head and neck surgeon to perform this procedure.

Bringing up blood...Presence of blood is often caused by something other than cancer. However, tumors in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs can cause bleeding. If blood appears in your saliva or phlegm for more than a few days, you should see your physician.

Swallowing problems...Cancer of the throat or esophagus (swallowing tube) may make swallowing solid foods difficult. Sometimes liquids can also be troublesome. The food may "stick" at a certain point and then either go through to the stomach or come back up. In order to find the cause, a barium swallow x-ray or an esophagoscopy (direct examination of the swallowing tube with a telescope) can be performed. If you have trouble almost every time you try to swallow something, a physician should examine you.

Changes in the skin...The most common head and neck cancer is basal cell cancer of the skin. Fortunately, this is rarely a major problem if treated early. Basal cell cancers appear most often on sun-exposed areas like the forehead, face, and ears, although they can occur almost anywhere on the skin. Basal cell cancer often begins as a small, pale patch that enlarges slowly, producing a central "dimple" and eventually an ulcer. Parts of the ulcer may heal, but the major portion remains ulcerated. Some basal cell cancers show color changes. Other kinds of cancer, including squamous cell cancer and malignant melanoma, also occur on the skin of the head and neck. Most squamous cell cancers occur on the lower lip and ear. They may look like basal cell cancers and, if caught early and properly treated, usually are not much more dangerous. If there is a sore on the lip, lower face or ear that does not heal, consult a physician.

Malignant melanoma classically produces dense blue-black or black discolorations of the skin. However, any mole that changes size, color, or begins to bleed may be trouble. A dermatologist or other physician should examine any blue-black or black spots on the face or neck, particularly that change shape or size, as soon as possible.
Persistent Earache...Constant pain in or around the ear when you swallow can be a sign of infection or tumor growth in the throat. This is particularly serious if it is associated with difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness or a lump in the neck. These symptoms are best evaluated by an otolaryngologist.

Identifying High Risk of Head and Neck Cancer

Ohio ENT & Allergy is well aware that as many as 90 percent of head and neck cancers arise after prolonged exposure to specific factors. Use of tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco or snuff) and alcoholic beverages are closely linked with cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and tongue. (In adults who neither smoke nor drink, cancer of the mouth and throat are nearly nonexistent.) Prolonged exposure to sunlight is linked with cancer of the lip and is also an established cause of skin cancer.

What You Should Do...All of the symptoms and signs described here can occur with no cancer present. However, you cannot be sure without an examination. So, if you experience one or any combination of these symptoms, do not hesitate to see your doctor.

REMEMBER: When found early, most cancers in the head and neck can be cured with relatively little difficulty. Cure rates for these cancers could be greatly improved if people would seek medical advice as soon as possible. So play it safe. If you think you have one of the warning signs of head and neck cancer, see your doctor right away.

BE SAFE: See your doctor early! And practice healthy habits, which will make these diseases unlikely to occur.
The information provided above is for general use only, and medical decisions should not be made without consulting a physician. The information is provided by The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Foundation.

The information provided above is for general use only, and medical decisions should not be made without consulting a physician. The information is provided by The American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery Foundation.