Head and Neck Cancer Stages

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Cancer is defined as uncontrollable division of cells. This cancer arises because of malignant tumors. Head and neck cancer consists of the cancers of salivary glands, oral cavities, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, larynx (the voice-box), pharynx - Nasopharynx (upper part of the pharynx), oropharynx (middle part of the pharynx) and Hypopharynx (lower part of the pharynx) and the lymph nodes in the upper part of the neck. However, one has to note that here in head and neck cancer skin cancer, brain cancer, eye cancer, thyroid cancer, scalp cancer and bones in the head and neck region do not fall under the category of head and neck cancer.

Symptoms of head and neck cancer:

  1. Lump in the throat
  2. Problem in swallowing food
  3. Changes in the voice
  4. Changes in the skin
  5. Consistent pain in the ear
  6. Double vision i.e. swelling around the eye for more than few weeks
  7. Pain in the upper jaw or face
  8. Bleeding of nose
  9. Blockage of nose
  10. Swelling in the mouth

As soon as you notice any of these symptoms consistently for more than two weeks, it is the time to talk your physician. Better to consult early than to repent later.

Head and neck cancer stages

Head and neck cancer stages involve four stages. It is usually interpreted on the levels of how far the cancer has spread. Depending upon the intensity of the cancer, it is named as T, N and M. It is based upon how far the cancer has affected to other surrounding body parts.

T stands for the size of primary tumor,

N denotes whether it has spread towards lymph nodes (it is storage of special white blood corpuscles WBC's that fight infection and other diseases) and

M signifies the widening of cancerous cells towards other body parts.

The determination of TNM helps in understanding the stages of cancer.

There are four head and neck cancer stages.

Cancer 1 stage is when the cancer is small and has not spread to other surrounding parts. It is easily curable. When the cancer is in its initial stage, it can be cured and one need not be scared. Consulting doctor in its early stage avoids further complications.

Cancer 2 and 3 stage suggests that cancer might have spread to the lymph nodes. Lymph nodes are present in the lower part of the neck. Usually, when cancer is not detected in parts of head and neck, it is found that cancerous cells are present in these lymph nodes. It is better to enquire with your doctor as soon as possible because once it enters in the fourth stage, it is quite hard to cure. But, do not lose hopes. Every dark cloud has silver lining. Due to advancement in the technology in the medical fields, it is now possible to treat cancer in the second and third stages. Losing hope and enthusiasm for life is one of the biggest down fall. So keep life lively even if you are in second or third stage of cancer. Many rehabilitation centers are set up for cancer aid.

These centers offer you the necessary cancer care and treatment. Moreover, they develop the lost hope and offer friendly atmosphere.
Cancer 4 stage is the last stage of cancer. At this stage, it is inoperable. The cancer has already spread to other body parts. Living the remaining life with zeal, love and peace is the only way out to change the focus from close death. Spending time with loved ones offer a strong emotional support for head and neck cancer. Embrace the remaining life with joy and affection. Spread love.

These head and neck cancer stages give proper insight of the intensity of the disease.

So, take necessary precautions and do not promote the growth of cancerous cells or malignant tumors by inculcating unhygienic habits of consuming tobacco, smoking and alcohol.

It is your life, you get it once. Live it, cherish it. Don't spoil it.

Take care!

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