The Head & Neck Surgical Oncology Unit was started in 2006 at this hospital by Dr. Rajendra B. Metgudmath who has been trained in Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai under the eminent surgeons. The unit handles all kinds of cancers arising in Head & Neck region. Conducts regular Awareness programmee regarding Head & Neck Cancers & Bad effects of Tobacco & Alcohol & also conducts Screening camps. The unit is supported by well experienced senior consultants from related surgical branches such as Department of Plastic surgery, Cardiovascular & Neurosurgery. The unit also receives support from the state of art operation theaters, intensive care units, comprehensive diagnostic facilities, blood bank and well experienced senior consultants of the Department of Anesthesiology, Prosthodontics & Physiotherapy.
Head and Neck Cancer:
Head and Neck cancers are the malignant growths originating in the lip, oral cavity, oropharynx, nasopharynx, hypopharynx, larynx, thyroid, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, salivary glands, skull base and cervical lymph nodes of the neck. Head and neck cancers are most commonly squamous cell carcinomas.
Head and neck cancer poses a serious health risk. Head and neck cancer is the fifth most common malignancy worldwide. The worldwide incidence exceeds half a million cases annually. Oral cancer has the highest incidence of the head and neck cancers and it is more common in men than in women. The incidence of oral cancer rates is higher among people from a South Asian (Indian sub-continent). Approximately 90% of Head & Neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.
What causes cancer?
Consumption of Tobacco-quid, gutka, Smoking cigarettes- cigars, pipes and beedis, Marijuana, drinking alcohol, occupational exposures – nickel refining, textile fibers and wood working, Dietary factors- lowest consumption of fruits and vegetables, Viral aetiology, Chronic irritation (such as that from rough teeth, dentures, or fillings).
The following are the list of few of the symptoms which a patient suffering from head and neck cancer may complain. Lump in the neck, swallowing difficulty, feeling of something is sticking in the throat, long standing ulcer, chewing problems, breathing difficulty, hoarseness of voice, bleeding from the nose, persistent cough, earache, loss of weight. Pain and paraesthesia are late symptoms.
A through clinical examination is of at most important in diagnosing the cancer. Histopathological examination should also be performed. Computed Tomography scan (CT scan) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have been universally accepted as vital tools for clinical staging. Newer imaging modalities such as Positron Emission Tomography (PET scan) and the identification of sentinel nodes by means of lymphoscintigraphy, show promising results.
For an each specific cancer the selection of appropriate treatment depends on a many factors that include tumor site, extent, histology, intent of treatment, quality of life to be offered post treatment.The relative morbidity of various treatment options, nutritional status, patient performance, co-existing health problems, social and logistic factors, therapy anticipated for potential recurrences are the other major issues. Co-morbidities associated with consumption of tobacco and alcohol can affect over all treatment outcome. When different treating modalities are available, the modality that gives maximum chance of cure should be used.
Surgical resection and radiation therapy are the mainstays of treatment for most head and neck cancers and remain the standard of care in most cases. For small primary cancers without regional metastases (stage I or II), wide surgical excision alone or curative radiation therapy alone is used. For more extensive primary tumors or for those with regional metastases (stage III or IV), planned combinations of pre- or postoperative radiation with concurrent chemotherapy and complete surgical excision are generally used. The micro vascular flaps have revolutionized the reconstruction of head & neck surgical defects whose characteristics are similar to those of the native organ. Following the definitive treatment, rehabilitation may be necessary to improve cosmosis, swallowing, speech and movement of joints.
For patients with metastatic disease, in whom cure is no longer an option; the goal of treatment is prolonging life with various cytotoxic regimens that may achieve measurable reductions in tumor and providing palliation through control of symptoms.
What is the prognosis?
The five year relative survival varies from 20-90% depending upon the sub site of origin and the clinical extent of disease. It is over 80% for early stage and localized disease. Over 40% for whose disease has spread to the neck and below 20% for those who have distant metastatic disease. Over 60% of head and neck cancer patients present with advanced disease.It has been estimated that between 10 and 30% of patients with primary oral cancer develop second primary upper aerodigestive tract tumors.
Head and neck cancer remains a disfiguring disease associated with a high mortality rate. Emphasis should be given on the early detection of the cancerous lesion. Results are good in earlier stages of the disease. Screening is a means of detecting disease early in asymptomatic individuals, with the goal of decreasing morbidity and mortality.
How do I prevent or control cancer?
Regular health cheak-up and maintaining good oral hygiene. Avoiding smoking, chewing tobacco and its various products. Avoiding consumption of alcohol. Emphasis on consumption of fruits and vegetables. Consumption of food which are rich in vvitamins such as dietary carotenoids and retinoids.
“Human life is most precious. Cancer is a curse to humanity. Control it before it is too late”.
KLES Dr. Prabhakar Kore Hospital & MRC, in collaboration with the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMC) brings together a dedicated team of physicians, surgeons and healthcare specialists to provide healthcare and hospitality under one roof, thus giving it a perfect academic-and-professional blend.