Head & Neck Cancer Specialist

Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists

Audiology & Otolaryngology located in Petoskey, MI & Gaylord, MI

Head and neck cancers account for roughly 4% of all cancers in the United States, with most patients diagnosed after the age of 50. The experienced team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists in Petoskey and Gaylord, Michigan, work closely with each cancer patient, talking with them about their treatment options and providing the ongoing support they need to achieve the very best outcome. If you have questions about your symptoms or you’d like to schedule an appointment, call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.

Head & Neck Cancer Q & A

What are the different types of head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancer is a broad category referring to tumors that develop in your throat, nose, mouth, sinuses, and voice box or larynx. There are five main types of head and neck cancer:

Oral and oropharyngeal cancer

These cancers affect your mouth, throat, soft palate, tonsils, and the base of your tongue. Smoking and chewing tobacco are the leading causes of mouth and throat cancer. It’s estimated that 85% of all head and neck cancers are associated with tobacco.

Salivary gland cancer

Around 70% of salivary gland tumors affect the parotid glands, located in front of your ears, while up to 20% occur in the submandibular glands below your jaw. In rare cases, tumors can also start in the sublingual glands under the floor of your mouth.

Nasopharyngeal cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer develops in the upper part of your throat, behind your nose.

Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer

When cancer affects your nasal cavity or sinuses, it usually begins in the mucus-producing tissues. In some cases, it may develop in the cartilage, muscles, bone, or nerves.

Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer

This category includes cancers in your larynx and hypopharynx, which sits at the bottom of your throat and stops food from getting into the larynx.

What symptoms might I develop due to head and neck cancer?

Each type of head and neck cancer has unique symptoms, such as:

  • Oral and oropharyngeal cancer: precancerous changes are visible as white, gray, or red patches in your mouth
  • Salivary gland cancer: facial numbness and pain in your mouth, cheek, jaw, or neck
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer: lumps toward the back of your neck that aren’t painful
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer: pain around your sinuses, nasal congestion, nosebleeds, and loss of smell
  • Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer: hoarseness, coughing, and pain when swallowing

If you develop symptoms that last for two weeks or longer, it’s important to schedule an examination at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists.

How are head and neck cancers treated?

When you’re diagnosed with cancer, the team at Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists works closely with you to determine the best treatment. Decisions are based on the type and stage of your cancer, possible side effects of treatments, and your overall health and preferences.

Your treatment options include:

  • Surgery to remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue
  • Radiation therapy after surgery or instead of surgery to destroy cancer cells
  • Chemotherapy before or after surgery or combined with radiation
  • Targeted therapy using drugs that destroy cancer cells by blocking their growth
  • Immunotherapy using drugs that stimulate your immune system to fight the cancer

Don’t wait to have suspicious symptoms evaluated. Call Petoskey Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists or schedule an appointment online today.