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Head and Neck Cancer Surgery

Head and neck cancer typically manifests as a lump that starts in the head or neck area, and eventually grows and spreads to nearby organs.

Types of Head and Neck Cancer

There are different types of head and neck cancer, depending on the location it originated from. The most common types are:

  • Oral cavity cancer (lips, gums, tongue, inner cheeks, roof and floor of the mouth)
  • Oropharyngeal cancer (base of the tongue, soft palate, tonsils, back of the mouth and throat)
  • Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer (air-filled space behind the nose leading to the mouth and throat, sinuses)
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer (upper part of the throat behind the nose)
  • Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer (voice box, lower part of the throat)
  • Salivary gland cancer (parotid, sublingual and submandibular salivary glands)

Risks of Head and Neck Cancer

Certain factors can raise the risk of head and neck cancer. These include:

  • Age – Those over 40 years old are at a higher risk of head and neck cancers.
  • Gender – Men are twice or thrice more likely to develop head and neck cancers than women.
  • Alcohol and Tobacco Use – About 75% of head and neck cancer cases are caused by these two substances.

Other known predisposing factors include prolonged sun exposure, poor nutrition and oral health, environmental and occupational exposure, excessive consumption of salted and processed food, HPV infection and Epstein-Barr viruses.

Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer

There are various ways to treat head and neck cancer, depending on the size, location, severity and spread of the tumors. These include:

  • Surgery – Head and neck cancer surgery is often the first-line treatment to remove tumors from the body. This involves taking out an area of the organ containing the tumors and surrounding healthy tissues, or removing the organ altogether. The procedure may also entail the removal of infected lymph nodes.
  • Radiation Therapy – This method uses radiation or intense beams of energy to target cancer cells. It can be used to kill cancer cells or shrink tumors, which will then be removed via surgery.
  • Chemotherapy – This refers to medication that can be taken by mouth or intravenously. These drugs are designed to target cancer cells, identifying them based on their rapidly dividing nature. However, they are also known to also affect healthy cells with similar traits, such as cells in the hair, so a fine balance must be determined.

A/Prof Luke Tan specializes in the management of head, neck and thyroid conditions, including cancer. Our head and neck clinic in Singapore provides a range of proven medical and surgical treatments, as well as dedicated staff to ensure that patients can go through their treatment and recovery in a caring and assuring environment. For consultation and enquiries, contact us at 6474-6116 today.

General Services

Our clinic is dedicated to the management of thyroid, head and neck surgery fully supported by a comprehensive range of diagnostic, endoscopic & robotic equipment. Being a mature and high volume practice of more than 15 years, we see patients and physicians from around the world seeking the highest degree of expertise in thyroid and head and neck surgery.

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Allergy &
Rhinology
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Children
ENT Surgery
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Ear
Surgery
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General
ENT
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Head & Neck
Cancer Surgery
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