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Medical City Healthcare

Head and neck cancer

Head and neck cancers develop in the mouth, throat, sinuses or nose. They may be treated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Reconstructive surgery may also be used to improve function and appearance.

Head and neck cancer care in North Texas

The oncologists at Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute at Medical City Healthcare offer advanced treatment for all types of head and neck cancer.

Our comprehensive approach to head and neck cancer care includes a wide range of cancer treatments as well as cosmetic and reconstructive facial procedures. Our goal is to ensure you are cancer-free and to restore your skin's appearance following treatment.

Have cancer questions?

We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential.

We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential.

Types of head and neck cancer we treat

Oncologists treat head and neck tumors at Medical City Plano and may incorporate ear, nose and throat services to provide total care. The types of head and neck cancer treated at our hospitals include:

  • Thyroid cancers: Cancers of the thyroid develop in the gland at the base of the neck.
  • Pituitary tumors: Pituitary tumors, which develop in the pituitary gland, are usually noncancerous and don't grow beyond the skull.
  • Parathyroid cancers: Parathyroid cancers, which are very rare, affect the parathyroid glands found at the base of the neck.
  • Oral cancers: Oral cancers, also called mouth cancers, can develop in any part of the mouth.
  • Throat cancers: This category includes cancers of the throat and tonsils. The most common type of throat cancer grows from the flat cells that line the throat.
  • Voice box cancers: Also called laryngeal cancer, this type of cancer affects the larynx or voice box.
  • Salivary cancers: This category includes any type of cancer that affects the salivary glands.
  • Skull base tumors: Skull base tumors are categorized by type (cancerous or noncancerous) and location.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer

If you experience any of the following symptoms, don't assume it's due to cancer. Most of these symptoms can be caused by other, less serious health conditions. Only a head and neck cancer specialist can accurately diagnose your symptoms and determine if you have cancer.

Symptoms of thyroid cancer include:

  • Swelling or a lump in the neck: An enlarging lump in the lower neck may be due to a thyroid nodule. The lump may be painless or painful.
  • Neck pain: As thyroid cancer grows, it may put pressure on nearby nerves and structures, causing pain. The pain may irritate nerves, causing the sensation of pain to run from the area of the thyroid all the way up to the ears.
  • Hoarse voice: Pressure from an enlarging thyroid on the nearby voice box may cause the voice to sound hoarse.
  • Noisy breathing or wheezing: When the thyroid enlarges enough to press against the trachea (windpipe), your breathing may sound harsh, raspy or wheezy.
  • Cough: Pressure from a thyroid tumor on the trachea may also cause you to cough.
  • Difficulty swallowing: If the thyroid expands enough to put pressure on the esophagus (the tube that carries food from the mouth into the stomach), you may have difficulty swallowing.

Causes of head and neck cancer

Several factors can lead to cancer development, but the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers are alcohol and tobacco use. Other risk factors include human papillomavirus (HPV), a high intake of preserved or salted foods, poor oral hygiene, prior radiation exposure and a family history of cancer.

Head and neck cancer treatment

Through our oncology program, we offer a range of treatment options for head and neck cancer. Your physician will discuss nonsurgical and surgical options, and we'll recommend additional resources and care to help you through your cancer journey.

Nonsurgical treatment options

Nonsurgical options for cancer care include chemotherapy, immunotherapy and radiation therapy. These treatments may be combined, and your care plan may also include surgery.

Surgical treatment options

A surgical oncologist may remove all or part of an organ affected by cancer. For example, if you have thyroid cancer, you may undergo a thyroidectomy to remove all or part of the thyroid gland.

Cancer support

We know a cancer diagnosis affects more than your physical health. That's why cancer support groups are a major part of cancer care at Medical City Healthcare. If you've just learned about a cancer diagnosis, are supporting a loved one through treatment or are transitioning into survivorship, we can connect you with a local community for ongoing care.

About Sarah Cannon Cancer Institute

As part of Sarah Cannon, the Cancer Institute of HCA Healthcare, our family of hospitals provides comprehensive cancer services with convenient access to cutting-edge therapies for people facing cancer in our communities. From diagnosis to treatment and survivorship care, our oncology expertise ensures you have access to locally trusted care with the support of a globally recognized network.

askSARAH helpline

Have cancer questions? We can help. askSARAH is a dedicated helpline for your cancer-related questions. Our specially trained nurses are available 24/7, and all calls are confidential. Contact askSARAH at (972) 202-8877.

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