There are 14,000 new cases per year. On top of that, 5,000 deaths are caused by these types of cancer every year, making them the 4th deadliest cancers in France. And yet, this disease group is not known to the general public.
What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?
These cancers often show signs very late, and they're difficult to detect because they are rather common symptoms. Persistent hoarseness, trouble swallowing, tooth pain and discomfort when eating. Symptoms also include slurred speech.
Situations that may lead patients to seek medical attention: angina that does not respond to medical treatment or the appearance of a ganglion that is not painful in the neck. If these symptoms persist for more than three weeks, it is advisable to speak to a doctor.
The importance of screening tests
The sooner one is diagnosed and the tumor is detected, the better their chances of survival. Indeed, Maria Lesnik, a surgeon from the Institute Curie's ENT department, told Nice-Matin the survival rate is 80% to 90% but "drops once you reach a certain tumor size." In addition, the consequences are also aesthetic and functional, because the later the tumor is detected, the more invasive and complicated the surgeries will be.
What are the main risk factors?
Tobacco is thought to be responsible for 85% of these cancers. Alcohol consumption and HPV (papillomavirus) are also to blame for many cases of neck and head cancer.