The Basics on Head and Neck Cancer

Statistically, head and neck cancer account for about 4% of all cancers in the U.S. Within the next year, an estimate of 48,000 men and 17,400 women will develop the disease. Here at Ear Nose Throat St. Peters Balloon Sinuplasty, Dr. Paul Burk utilizes screening to identify abnormalities before signs and symptoms arise. Early detection is the key to prevention and saving lives in the long run. If you have concerns about head and neck cancer, we have three convenient locations for our patients to visit in St. Peters, St. Louis, and Bridgeton, MO. In the meantime, we've provided more information about the basics below.

Head and Neck Cancer Causes

Cancer is always named after the region where it originates. In this case, it begins in the oral cavity, nasal cavity, pharynx, salivary glands, or neck lymph nodes. When cells in the head and neck grow out of control, it might be for several reasons. Individuals who frequently consume alcohol or use tobacco/vaping products should receive an annual screening because their risk of developing head and neck cancers is higher than most. Other causes include:

  • Genetics
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Radiation exposure
  • Occupational exposure
  • A diet that is high in salt

To determine the cause, Dr. Burk will first evaluate your medical as well as family history, perform a physical examination, and potentially order diagnostic tests.

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancers are twice as more common among men than women. You should visit one of our three locations if you notice one or more of the following persists:

  • A lump or sore throat that doesn't heal
  • Trouble hearing and ringing in the ears
  • Swelling in the throat, or around the jawbone
  • White or red patches on the gums, tongue, lips, or cheek
  • Unusual bleeding in the mouth and pain while swallowing

Diagnosis and Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer

To reach an accurate diagnosis for head and neck cancer, Dr. Burk may request a biopsy in addition to diagnostic testing. He will customize a treatment plan depending on several factors, such as the location of cancer, the stage, other health problems, and your feelings about the side effects that may accompany therapy. Treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. The goal is to eliminate the malignancy while preserving the surrounding nerves, organs, and tissues.

Concerned? Give Us a Call

For more information about head and neck cancers as well as the other conditions we treat, visit our website. For appointment scheduling, please call (636) 936-5002 for our St. Peters, MO, location, (314) 821-5002 for our Des Peres, MO, location, and (314) 770-0708 for our De Paul, MO, location.

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