Head and neck region includes some of our body’s most vital organs like throat, larynx, nose, sinuses, and mouth. These organs can be especially susceptible to tumors and cancer. Being a crucial area, treatment of these cancers needs specially trained Head and Neck Onco-surgeon.
After finishing his post-graduation in ENT, Dr Sanu P Moideen, received additional training in Head and Neck Onco-surgery from Regional Cancer Centre, Trivandrum which is an internationally recognized centre providing state-of-the-art facilities for cancer diagnosis, treatment, palliation and rehabilitation and conducting a wide range of research on various type of cancers.
His areas of special interest are in surgical treatment of
- thyroid and parathyroid diseases,
- oral and laryngopharyngeal cancers,
- skull base malignancies
- facio-plastic reconstruction surgeries
What are Head and Neck Cancers?
These are cancers which originate in organs of head and neck region mainly – nose and paranasal sinuses, oral cavity and oropharynx, nasopharynx and laryngopharynx, thyroid and parathyroids and salivary glands. Majority of these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas which arises from the cells that line the mucosal surfaces of the head and neck.
Though these cancers often spread to the lymph nodes, they are curable if discovered early.
What causes Head and Neck Cancer?
Biggest risk factor for head and neck cancer is tobacco usage (which could be as cigarettes or as chewing tobacco). Alcohol when used together causes enhanced absorption of toxic materials from tobacco and increases the chance of cancer. Other risk factors include chronic trauma due to sharp tooths, human papillomavirus, Epstein-Barr virus, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), exposure to industrial toxins (e.g., wood, dust, paint fumes), dietary factors, asbestos exposure, and radiation.
What are the symptoms?
Usual symptoms of head and neck cancers include a lump or an ulcer that doesn’t heal, persistent sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and voice change, earache, bleeding from the mouth, swelling of the jaw, headaches, facial numbness or paralysis, frequent congestion, sinus infections that don’t respond to treatment, enlarged lymph nodes, and an unexplained loss of weight.
Symptoms of head and neck cancers can be similar to some non-cancerous conditions and may seem harmless at first. So, meet your ENT doctor to get your condition diagnosed at the earliest.
How are H&N cancers evaluated?
A detailed history and clinical examination of lesion may allow your oncologist to diagnose the cancer based on location, size, and consistency.
In some cases, additional tests may be suggested. These tests include – Ultrasound, CT (Computed Tomography) Scan, MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), PET (Positron Emission Tomography), SPECT (Single Photon Emission Tomography) and tissue biopsy.
How are H&N cancers treated?
Treatment of head and neck cancers depends upon several factors. The size and location of the cancer, the stage at diagnosis, your age, health and performance status must all be taken into consideration before selecting the right treatment option.
Treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of the above.
In addition to cancers of the head and neck, as an ENT specialist I treat benign neck masses – ranula, carotid body tumors, thyroglossal cyst, benign diseases of salivary glands, congenital neck anomalies, thyroid disorders, Grave’s disease, enlarged thyroid glands, parathyroid disease, lymphangioma, neck abscess and more.