Head and neck cancer

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Head and neck cancer includes "Soft tissue tumors or cancer arising from the mucosal surfaces of the lip; oral cavity; pharynx; larynx; and cervical esophagus. Other sites included are the nose and paranasal sinuses; salivary glands; thyroid gland and parathyroid glands and melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers of the head and neck. (from Holland et al., Cancer Medicine, 4th ed, p1651)[1]

Cause / etiology

By location


Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer.[2]


Pipe and cigar smoking are risk factors.

By histological type


By location


Oropharyngeal tumors are at high risk from infection from oral bacteria. A high index of suspicion should be kept both in visual examination and white counts, proceeding to culture and sensitivity from aspirational or punch biopsy. Given the mixed flora of the mouth, multiple antibiotic therapy may be needed for full coverage.


Radioactive iodine concentrates in the thyroid.

By histologic type=


Cetuximab chimeric recombinant monoclonal antibody that blocks epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR).[2]In the major randomized controlled trial, the percentage of cells that are EGFR positive did not seen to predict the response to cetuximab.[3]

Radiotherapy is the first-line palliative treatment for feline squamous cell carcinoma, with adjuvant therapy with COX-2 preferential or selective NSAIDs such as meloxicam, as well as experimental protocols using adjuvant hyperthermia, phototherapy and hyperbaric oxygen. Bleomycin and carboplatin are core drugs for palliative chemotherapy.


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  2. 2.0 2.1 Haddad RI, Shin DM (2008). "Recent advances in head and neck cancer.". N Engl J Med 359 (11): 1143-54. DOI:10.1056/NEJMra0707975. PMID 18784104. Research Blogging.
  3. Vermorken JB, Mesia R, Rivera F, Remenar E, Kawecki A, Rottey S et al. (2008). "Platinum-based chemotherapy plus cetuximab in head and neck cancer.". N Engl J Med 359 (11): 1116-27. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa0802656. PMID 18784101. Research Blogging.