Head and neck cancers account for about 6 percent of cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. This encompasses thyroid cancer, salivary gland cancer, cancers of the mouth, and several others.
Since head and neck cancers includes such a wide range, it’s important to remember that different cancers involve different potential risk factors. For example, tobacco use can increase mouth and tongue cancer, while sunlight exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer. Overall, it’s important not to ignore any potential symptoms.
Some cancers are influenced by hereditary factors. If this is suspected in your case, genetic testing may be recommended.
In some cases, your doctor will be able to see or feel cancers or lesions during a physical exam. Blood tests, imaging tests, and biopsies may also be used to confirm a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.
It’s very important to keep up with all of your follow-up appointments, which will likely be very frequent at first, and then be spread further apart as your remission continues.