Your Guide to Treatment Methods for Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancer usually begins in the squamous cells that line the head’s and neck’s mucosal surfaces and vary depending on where the disease forms. The most common cause of Flemington head and neck cancers is alcohol and tobacco, with more than 75% of the squamous cell resulting from the two habits. Symptoms such as hoarseness in the voice, difficulty in swallowing, persistent sore throat, and a sore in the mouth or throat are associated with head and neck cancers. However, these symptoms do not solely account for head and neck cancers as less severe conditions could cause them. This makes it necessary to check up with your dentist or specialist upon such symptoms. 

Treatment overview for head and neck cancers

Fortunately, most head and neck cancers can be cured using different treatment options such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and targeted therapy. Although the primary goal of treatment is getting rid of cancer, maintaining the function of surrounding organs is equally essential. When customizing a treatment plan, the doctor considers how treatment might affect your quality of life, including your appearance, speech, and ability to eat and breathe. Different factors go into consideration when selecting treatment options, including:

  •         Type and stage of head and neck cancer
  •         Patient’s preferences
  •         Possible side effects
  •         Overall health

Consulting with your doctor gives you more insight into the available treatment options and their goals. It helps you understand what to expect during treatment and clears any uncertainties that you may have. Discussing with your specialist about your treatment option is referred to as shared decision making. Shared decision-making helps you work closely with your specialist to choose a treatment type that fits your care goals.


Chemotherapy uses drugs to keep cancer from growing by destroying cancer cells and inhibiting the growth and division of abnormal cells. Your doctor administers these drugs for a specific number of cycles and over a set period. You may receive one type of drug or a combination of different medications ago based on your condition. The type of drug used depends on various factors, including the type and stage of cancer. These drugs or chemicals can be taken orally or by IV administration where the doctor injects directly into your veins. There are various side effects of chemotherapy depending on the patient, drug used, and dosage. Most of these side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, and diarrhea, go away after complete treatment.

Radiation therapy

This uses high-energy x-rays to destroy cancer cells and help cure the disease or lessen cancer symptoms. Radiotherapy or radiation therapy consists of several treatments over a set period. The time frame may depend on the stage of cancer. Radiation therapy can be used as the primary treatment or combined with other treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy.

These treatment methods for head and neck cancers cause different side effects. For example, radiation therapy can result in hypothyroidism. To understand how these side effects can be prevented or managed, consult your specialist at HUNTERDON HEMATOLOGY ONCOLOGY, LLC. 

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