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Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis

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Head and neck cancer diagnosis is done to identify the presence of cancer in the body. Head and neck cancer is a group of cancer which has been categorized.

Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosis

Head and neck cancer is diagnosed with the help of different tests for different individuals and differs according to the symptoms of the patient. When a patient comes to a doctor with symptoms of cancer such as mass in the neck, bleeding from the mouth, lumps in the lips, etc, the doctor may decide to diagnose him for head and neck cancer

There are multiple tests available which vary from person to person. Some of them are as follows:

  • Physical examination

    The doctor will first conduct a physical exam in which he will use a small mirror and a light. He will use these to inspect areas such as the mouth, throat, tongue and the oral cavity.

  • Biopsy

    Biopsy procedure will generally be used after the physical examination. During the physical examination, if the doctor feels that it may be a case of head and neck cancer, he may recommend a biopsy. In this procedure, a small tissue will be extracted from the patient's body and be analyzed in the laboratory. This is the surest way to identify cancer in a given patient.

  • Endoscopy

    Endoscopy for cancer is also referred to as endoscopic biopsy. In this process, a flexible endoscope is used in order to look inside the body. The endoscope is a flexible tube that will be inserted in to the mouth or the nose, etc depending upon the affected area. This allows the doctor to see the affected area. He may then insert other required instruments in order to remove a sample tissue.

  • Other laboratory tests

    Other laboratory tests include taking samples of blood and / or urine to further examine them and conduct tests.

  • Needle Biopsy

    In a needle biopsy, a needle is used so that the doctor can draw out sample cells in order to analyze them. This comprises of a variety of types of needle biopsy. It includes fine needle aspiration, core needle aspiration, vacuum assisted biopsy and an image guided biopsy.

  • X- rays

    This is generally used in combination with a biopsy but may also be used without it. The X - Rays are passed through the affected area and received on a film. This procedure is painless.

  • CT scan

    This is known as a computerized axial tomography. In this, a combination of a lot of x - rays is used to get more detailed images. This is a painless procedure too.

  • MRI

    This is known as magnetic resonance imaging. In this scan a big magnet is put to use. This magnet is used in combination with radio waves. The result of this combination is highly detailed images. This structure in which this imaging takes place is like a machine used for a CT scan. This however is larger and noisier. This too is a painless procedure.

  • PET Scan

    This is known as positron emission tomography. This makes use of a radioactive substance which is short lived. This scan produces three dimensional images which are colored.

    This gives the images in high detail.

  • Microcytoscopy

    This is a rather new procedure and is still being tested. People who need to go for biopsies frequently can make use of this procedure. In this procedure, a blue colored dye is applied and then is observed under a microscope. This procedure is not painful like a biopsy.

  • Panorex

    Panorex is known as an orthopantomogram or an orthopantogram. This is a rotating x- ray taken of the patient's upper and lower jaw. In this the patient is asked to place his head between the x - ray generator and the film. Then one arm rotates around the head which collects the images. This helps detect head and neck cancer in the patient and also helps in estimation of the effects of chemotherapy or radiation on the patient.

These are some of the methods use to detect malignant cancer cells. Always remember to check with a doctor for any symptoms or early signs of neck and head cancer. Head and neck cancer diagnosis helps detect cancer and commence with the required and adequate treatment. Do not panic if the cancer is not confirmed yet. There are treatments available today. Avoid cancer causing substances and have a happy life!

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