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Neck Cancers

The Basics of Neck Cancer



Anatomy

Understanding the Anatomy The neck is the connection between the head and the body and is a very complex anatomic region. In the front, the neck goes from the bottom part of the mandible (lower jaw) to the bones of the upper chest and shoulder (including the sternum and collar bones). In the back of […]

Causes

Causes of Neck Cancer Since neck cancer is not a specific type of cancer, the cause of the cancer in your neck depends on the primary type of cancer, or where the first tumor appeared. You can look into the causes once you know what type of cancer is in your neck. See Metastatic Lymph […]

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Neck Cancer Cancer in the neck presents in two ways: you or a doctor feels a lump in the neck, or review of an imaging study for an unrelated reason identifies a mass in the neck that warrants an evaluation. Also worth mentioning is that skin cancers might be picked up […]

Doctor’s Visit

What to Expect at Your Doctor’s Visit Step 1: History First, your head and neck specialist will take a thorough history of your health and address any specific concerns you may have. Your doctor might ask questions such as: How long has the problem been there? Is it getting worse, better or staying the same? […]

Diagnosis

Diagnosing Neck Cancer Getting to a diagnosis begins with a history and physical examination. If the symptoms haven’t been present for very long, or if the history and physical examination make the doctor less suspicious that your lump is cancer, your doctor might try some medications and rehabilitation before jumping to a diagnosis of cancer. […]

Type of Cancer

Determining the Type of Neck Cancer The best way to classify neck cancers is to determine if it is a cancer that started in the neck or has spread from another site. Primary cancers of the neck include the following: Salivary gland cancer: The submandibular gland is technically located in the neck. Therefore, a submandibular […]

Grade of the Tumor

Determining the Grade of the Tumor All sarcomas should also be given a grade based on factors seen under the microscope. They can be designated as low grade or high grade. There is also a three-tiered system based on a number of factors (differentiation, mitotic activity and necrosis). Each of these factors is given a […]

Stage of the Cancer

Determining the Stage of the Cancer The final step before discussing treatment options is a determination of the stage of the cancer. As with all cancers of the head and neck, doctors in the U.S. use the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual (7th Ed) to determine the stage based on three factors. Factors that go into […]

Treatment Plan

Deciding on a Treatment Plan Before starting treatment, your doctor will make sure that the following steps are completed. Preoperative Evaluation A full history and physical examination An evaluation by the members of a head and neck cancer team A biopsy to confirm a diagnosis of cancer Possibly, testing for HPV Evaluation of the lungs […]

Prognosis

Determining Your Prognosis Your prognosis is a prediction of the outcome of your disease. What is the risk of succumbing to the cancer or the risk of its coming back? These are the big questions on most people’s minds after receiving a diagnosis of head and neck cancer. It is very difficult to discuss prognosis […]

After Treatment

What to Expect After Treatment is Completed  Once you have made it through treatment, you need to have close follow-up with your doctor. Follow-up plans are specific to the primary site of the tumor.  Sarcoma follow-up: Some of your follow-up plan after treatment for soft tissue sarcoma will depend on the stage and type of your sarcoma. In general, you should […]

Additional Readings
References

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