Cancer is the abnormal growth of a certain type of cell. The cancer can develop locally (in its primary site) or it can spread to other parts of the body, known as metastasis.
Most head and neck cancers are associated with the significant intake of alcohol and/or tobacco products.
The treatment of head and neck cancer will depend on the location of the tumour, its size and whether or not it has spread
(metastasis), either to other organs (lung, bones) or to the surrounding lymph nodes.
By using a combination of exploration techniques, radiological screening and biopsy, we will obtain enough information to determine the right treatment for the head and neck cancer.
Treatments for head and neck cancer, both single and combination, include:
- Surgery to completely remove the tumour. In most cases, this is performed with the CO2 laser, which allows us to remove all of the tumour, with minimal bleeding and no pain. Another benefit of laser surgery is that it avoids unnecessary scars, the need for a tracheotomy (making a small hole in the neck) and swallowing difficulties;
- If the cancer spreads to the surrounding lymph nodes in the neck, they will also be removed together with the tumour;
- Radiotherapy involves the use of high-energy radiation to kill the cancerous cells. It can be a single treatment, used in combination with chemotherapy, or in addition to surgery to remove microscopic traces of the disease;
- Chemotherapy involves the use of medication to kill the cancerous cells. It can be administered orally, or via an intravenous or intramuscular injection. Chemotherapy can be a single treatment or a treatment in combination with surgery and/or radiotherapy.