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Neck Cancers

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 by a new or changing spot on the skin of your neck.

Patients with lymphoma are typically younger than most patients with head and neck cancer. They might have generalized symptoms in addition to the neck mass such as fevers, chills, night sweats, fatigue and weight loss. There may also be additional enlarged lymph nodes in the body.

However, you should not jump to any conclusions. If you have a neck lump, it does not mean you have cancer. A general doctor will look at you, take a history and assess your risk factors. He or she might even try a couple of weeks of treatment with some medicines or therapies. However, if the neck mass doesn’t go away after a couple of weeks, or if it keeps getting bigger, your doctor should probably get some more tests or refer you to a specialist.

References

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11 Garden AS, Morrison WH, Wong PF, et al. Disease-control rates following intensity-modulated radiation therapy for small primary oropharyngeal carcinoma. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2007;67(2):438-44.

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15 Beadle BM, Liao KP, Giordano SH, et al. Reduced feeding tube duration with intensity-modulated radiation therapy for head and neck cancer: A Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-Medicare Analysis. Cancer. 2017;123(2):283-293.

16 Pfister DG, Cassileth BR, Deng GE, et al. Acupuncture for pain and dysfunction after neck dissection: results of a randomized controlled trial. J Clin Oncol. 2010;28(15):2565-70.

17 Scarantino C, Leveque F, Swann RS, et al. Effect of pilocarpine during radiation therapy: results of RTOG 97-09, a phase III randomized study in head and neck cancer patients. J Support Oncol. 2006;4(5):252-8.

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20 Zenda S, Kawashima M, Nishio T, et al. Proton beam therapy as a nonsurgical approach to mucosal melanoma of the head and neck: a pilot study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011;81(1):135-9.

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22 Demizu Y, Fujii O, Terashima K, et al. Particle therapy for mucosal melanoma of the head and neck. A single-institution retrospective comparison of proton and carbon ion therapy. Strahlenther Onkol. 2014;190(2):186-91.

23 Fuji H, Yoshikawa S, Kasami M, et al. High-dose proton beam therapy for sinonasal mucosal malignant melanoma. Radiat Oncol. 2014;9:162.

24 Allen AM, Pawlicki T, Dong L, et al. An evidence based review of proton beam therapy: the report of ASTRO's emerging technology committee. Radiother Oncol. 2012;103(1):8-11.

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