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Head and neck cancers – Top 4 treatment options

Head and neck cancers – Top 4 treatment options

Head and neck cancers develop in the squamous cells of the mouth, nose, and throat. These also include oral cancers as well as those found in the salivary glands, nose, and any other part of the head and the neck. These are observed more commonly in older individuals, that are typically over the age of 45 or 50. These cancers are commonly associated with early symptoms like a lump or a sore that is taking longer than usual to heal. Other symptoms may vary based on where the cancer is originating from. Let’s take a look at the top ways to treat head and neck cancers.

Treatment options for head and neck cancers
The team that is required to work on head and neck cancers generally involves a select variety of specialists including reconstructive surgeons, otolaryngologists, speech-language pathologists, nutritionists, as well as oncologists.

    KEYTRUDA®, generally known as pembrolizumab, is a medicine prescribed for treating cancer. It works hand-in-hand with the body’s natural immune system and helps it to detect and destroy cancerous growths. It is known to have a significant impact on melanoma, lymphoma, lung cancer, and head and neck cancers. This form of immunotherapy is often used alongside other treatment options like chemotherapy when treating head and neck cancers. KEYTRUDA® may be used alone in cases where the tumor has tested positive for PD-L1 or if it has spread extensively and can not be surgically removed.
  • Reconstructive (plastic) surgery
    This approach is used when major tissues and parts of the face are to be removed. In such surgeries, tissues from healthy parts of the body are used so as to replace the displaced tissues. Post-surgery, the person’s natural ability to swallow and speak gets restored and they are required to work closely alongside a speech pathologist as well as a prosthodontist on some occasions to help get his life back to normal.
  • Radiation therapy
    Radiation therapy is a form of treatment in which high-energy x-rays or other particles are used to destroy cancer cells. In several cases, radiation therapy can be used as the main form of treatment for head and neck cancers. Alternatively, it can be used after surgery to get to any last cancer cells that might have been missed. Common side effects observed with radiation therapy include nausea, stiffness in the jaw, difficulty in swallowing, and hair loss.
  • Chemotherapy
    In this treatment option, potent and anti-cancer medications are used to destroy cancer cells in the body. This treatment is given to a patient over a specific period of time in cycles and can be quite aggressive due to the chemicals used. Common side effects associated with chemotherapy include nausea, loss of appetite, hair loss, etc which usually go away after the treatment is stopped.

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