Cancers of the Head & Neck
Head and neck cancers encompass several different diseases that can affect the mouth, nose, throat and other surrounding areas. Over 50,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer each year, as these diseases account for 3 to 5 percent of all cancers. Many cases of head and neck cancer can be prevented through life changes.
Several different types of cancer can affect the areas of the head and neck. Most begin in the lining of moist, mucosal surfaces such as the mouth, nose and throat. The cells in the lining are known as squamous cells, and may therefore be affected by squamous cell carcinomas. The different types of cancer associated with the head and neck include:
- Oral cavity
- Salivary glands
- Nasal cavity
- Pharynx (including nasopharynx, oropharynx and hypopharynx)
- Lymph nodes
Head and neck cancers are most often caused by tobacco and alcohol use, especially cancer of the oral cavity and larynx. Other factors that may lead to cancer in these and other sites include sun exposure, HPV, and radiation exposure. Tobacco use is linked to 85 percent of head and neck cancers.
Fortunately, many people with head and neck cancers experience symptoms right away that lead to an early diagnosis of the condition. Symptoms of head and neck cancers vary depending on the type of cancer, but may include:
- Lump in the neck
- Hoarseness or other change in the voice
- Growth in the mouth
- Blood in saliva
- Difficulty swallowing
- New or changed growths on skin
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, your doctor may perform an in-office endoscopy, recommend imaging tests such as ultrasound or CT scan, recommend an open or needle biopsy, along with a complete physical examination. Treatment for these cancers depends on the type and location of the tumor, as well as the patient's age and overall health. Treatment often includes surgery to remove the cancer, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. It is important to discuss treatment options with your doctors, as certain methods may have long-term effects on the way you look, talk, eat or breathe. Making healthy life changes, including avoiding smoking and alcohol use, will help prevent the disease from recurring, as well as reduce the risk for other diseases.
Although children are often affected by the same ear, nose and throat conditions as adults, they are often more susceptible to these conditions and require special care to treat these complex conditions. Our doctors are specially trained to diagnose and treat a wide range of ear, nose and throat conditions affecting children, including:
Chronic Ear Infections
Ear infections affect up to 75 percent of children in the US by the time they reach the age of three. Children with ear infections may experience earache, fever, ear discharge, headache, and dizziness. While many viral ear infections go away on their own within a few days, some persist, and can lead to bacterial ear infection. In addition to pain and discomfort, untreated recurrent bacterial ear infection can cause immediate hearing loss and contribute to long-term hearing loss and ear disease. Depending on the severity of your child's condition, treatment and prevention of his or her ear infections may include antibiotics, nasal steroid sprays, and discussion regarding the placement of ventilation (ear) tubes. In general, ventilation tubes are recommended for children who have 3 ear infections before age 6 months, at least 4 infections in 6 months, or at least 6 infections in 12 months. Also, ear tubes are often recommended in children who have chronic ear fluid in both ears for at least 3 months or ear fluid with speech delay/speech issues attributed to hearing loss
Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils, the fleshy areas at the back of the throat, caused by a virus or bacteria. It is especially common in children and spreads through contact with throat or nasal fluids. Tonsillitis causes the tonsils to become swollen, red and painful. Tonsillitis can usually be treated at home through rest and by drinking plenty of fluids, as well as antibiotics for bacterial infections. If a child has had several cases of tonsillitis in a short period of time, surgical removal of the tonsils, called tonsillectomy, may be recommended to prevent future throat infections. Your provider will discuss if tonsillectomy is right for your child after there have been tonsillitis episodes occurring at least 7 times in 1 year, 5 times per year for 2 years, or 3 times per year for at least 3 years. Consideration will also be given to the severity of the illnesses, associated complications, and school absences due to past infection.
We strive to provide the most effective treatment while taking into consideration the comfort of our patients and concerns of their parents.
Sleep Disorders & Snoring
Sleep disorders are common conditions that involve difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up. Sleep disorders may develop as a result of changes in the brain regions and neurotransmitters, stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep habits or many other possible causes. By not getting sufficient sleep at night, many people are affected during the day and may have difficulty completing their everyday activities.
Some of the most common sleep disorders include:
Insomnia - Not getting enough sleep at night as a result of trouble falling asleep or waking up frequently.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea - These conditions involve breathing irregularities while sleeping, which can result in loud noises, blocked airways and interrupting sleep. If left untreated, sleep apnea may lead to high blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke and heart attack.
Narcolepsy - Narcolepsy is a brain disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and may be prone to suddenly falling asleep for several seconds up to more than 30 minutes.
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) - This condition causes tingling sensations in the feet and legs, prompting people to move them and seek relief. This movement can disrupt sleep and may lead to constant leg movement while awake.
You can take certain actions to help get a good night's sleep, such as setting a routine, exercising regularly, avoiding caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, avoiding lying in bed while awake and relaxing before bedtime.