Tumors of the head and neck area affect 55,ooo Americans annually and may develop in the voice box, upper esophagus, oral cavity, salivary tissue, neck, or thyroid gland. Symptoms of head and neck cancer may include: persistent hoarseness, ear pain, swallowing problems, weight loss, bringing up blood, pain with swallowing, skin changes, or a growth in the oral cavity. If you notice one of these symptoms, it is important to promptly schedule an appointment with an ENT physician who will perform a careful head and neck examination.
If an abnormality is apparent, then your physician will discuss arranging a biopsy and possibly a fine needle aspiration, which is a relatively painless procedure to sample cells from a neck mass, thyroid gland or salivary gland. Evaluation of tissue samples by a pathologist will verify the diagnosis; your ENT doctor may also recommend other X-ray studies such as an MRI, CT, or PET scan to provide more detailed information about the tumor's extent. Increasingly, tumors of the head and neck regions can be successfully treated, if diagnosed early. The physicians at Ear, Nose and Throat Associates of San Mateo will work closely with an oncologist and/or radiation therapist to ensure that you receive the best possible compassionate care, using a multidisciplinary approach.