metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Overview of Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma (HNSCC) is an aggressive form of cancer which usually originates from the mucosa tissues of the head and neck. It is commonly found in the sinuses, nasal passages, larynx, and oral cavity. When not detected and treatedEarly, the cancer can metastasize or spread to other parts of the body.

Nearly two-thirds of HNSCC cases are related to tobacco use, such as smoking and chewing tobacco, or to the use of alcohol.

Symptoms of Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

  • Unusual, persistent lumps or masses in the neck or head
  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Nasal congestion or bleeding
  • Hoarseness or changes in your voice
  • Earaches
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Patches of white or red in your mouth

Diagnosing Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

If your doctor suspects that you may have HNSCC, they may recommend any of the following tests:

  • Imaging tests, such as X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI scans
  • Biopsy, which involves the removal of a sample of tissue from the affected area
  • Endoscopic exam, which uses a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end to view the inside of the throat and other areas
  • Lab tests to measure cancer cells in the blood

Treating Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Treatment for metastatic HNSCC will depend on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the patient’s overall health, and the patient’s preference. Treatment options may include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy. In some cases, a combination of treatments may be recommended.

  • Surgery: If the cancer is limited to a small area, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the tumor. Depending on the size and location of the tumor, it may be necessary to remove part or all of the affected organ or tissue. Your doctor may also suggest reconstructive or plastic surgery if it is necessary to restore function or appearance.
  • Radiation: Radiation therapy uses targeted, high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. Radiation can be used before, during, or after surgery in order to shrink the tumor or to help prevent the cancer from returning. Radiation can also be used as the primary treatment for smaller tumors.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It is usually administered through a vein (intravenous) or taken orally. Chemotherapy may be used alone or in combination with radiation.

Preventing Metastatic Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

The best way to prevent HNSCC is by avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol use. It is important to protect yourself from other known risk factors, including exposure to ultraviolet rays, certain chemicals, and certain types of HPV.

  • Limit Alcohol Use: Limiting your alcohol consumption can help reduce your risk of developing HNSCC. The American Cancer Society recommends that people who drink alcoholic beverages do so in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking increases your risk of developing HNSCC and other types of cancer. If you currently smoke, quitting is the best way to reduce your risk of getting the disease. If you are a former smoker, it’s important to be mindful of the risks associated with smoking in your past.
  • Protect Yourself from UV Rays: Excessive exposure to UV radiation from the sun can increase your risk of developing HNSCC. It’s important to protect yourself when outdoors by using hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.