You may feel a lump in your neck or feel a foreign body
There are many symptoms of cancer. It appears in various ways depending on the location and degree of occurrence, but the cancer that can be suspected especially through the change in voice is ‘head and neck cancer’.
The most representative symptom of head and neck cancer is a change in voice, and it usually changes more and more severely over a period of weeks to months, and the difference is immediately noticeable. As the number of patients increases every year, it is important to recognize and prevent symptoms in advance.
Head and neck cancer refers to all types of malignant tumors that occur in the nose, sinuses, oral cavity, face, larynx, pharynx, salivary glands, thyroid gland, etc. Depending on the location of occurrence, it can be divided into oral cancer, laryngeal cancer, pharynx cancer, salivary gland cancer, thyroid cancer, and sinus cancer. Since these various organs with various functions are gathered in a relatively narrow place, there is a high risk of reducing the patient’s quality of life if cancer develops in this area and normal functions are damaged.
Among head and neck cancers, there is representative oral cancer, which is cancer that occurs in the mouth, such as the tongue, buccal mucosa, gums, palate, lips, and jawbone. Oral cancer can be suspected if the mouth is often broken, white or red lesions occur in the mouth, and if the tongue and mouth are constantly sore or lumps are touched.
Pharyngeal cancer that occurs around the neck is also head and neck cancer. The most characteristic feature of laryngeal cancer is a change in voice, and a lump may be felt on the neck. Also, it seems that a foreign object is caught in the throat, and it is difficult to swallow food. Voice change is the most representative symptom. If your voice has changed for no reason, it is a good idea to find and consult a medical professional.
In addition, unlike stomatitis, oral cancer is characterized by the appearance of various pains continuously in one place, and laryngeal cancer is characterized by degeneration or foreign body sensation as an initial symptom, and breathing difficulties occur as it progresses. Hypopharyngeal cancer tends to start with a feeling of a foreign body in the throat and complain of difficulty swallowing.
A characteristic of head and neck cancer is that it metastasizes well to the lymph nodes located in the neck. So the lump in the primary part is small, so there are no symptoms, but something can be touched on the neck.
Experts point to smoking and alcohol as the traditional causes of head and neck cancer. When a head and neck cancer patient visits the hospital, the first recommendation is to quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol. In the United States, the incidence of oropharyngeal cancer associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) is increasing, and head and neck cancers associated with conventional smoking and alcohol use are decreasing.
Korea is also changing in a similar pattern, and it is expected that the proportion of head and neck cancer caused by HPV will increase for the time being. Head and neck cancer caused by smoking and drinking is common in older patients, but cancer caused by HPV occurs at a relatively young age, and there are many findings that this is due to active sex life.
The cause of nasopharyngeal cancer is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and many patients occur mainly in South China and Hong Kong, and are known to be infected mainly through pickled fish. In addition, although it is an organization gathered in a small space, what we can do to prevent head and neck cancer with various causes is smoking cessation and drinking (or sobriety) and HPV vaccination.
Since it is a head and neck cancer that impairs breathing, speaking, and food intake, it is a cancer that immediately reduces our quality of life, so if symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, it is important to receive an early diagnosis from an otolaryngologist without hesitation.
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