Head and neck cancers, what they are and how they are prevented

Head and neck cancers, what they are and how they are prevented

From alcohol to smoking there are several risk factors related to head and neck cancers. Prevention is essential

They affect men more than women, who in any case are not spared from risk. And they have a characteristic: even if they apparently do not know each other, when they manifest and are treated in many cases they "see" themselves, drawing their passage on the face. These are tumors of the head and neck area, affecting the nose, throat and mouth. Early diagnosis is essential, as always happens for oncological diseases, but we must focus a lot on prevention. In fact, it is possible to reduce risks.

Beware of smoking, alcohol and other factors

Good habits are essential in a preventive key. This is confirmed by the experts who deal with these forms, which each year affect about 10,000 people in our country who are diagnosed with the disease. But above all, according to science, it is necessary to spread knowledge on this issue.

"Head and neck cancers that include the oral cavity, tongue, larynx and organ of the voice, salivary glands, nasal cavities and paranasal sinuses, in our country are still little known by most people – remembers Valentino Valentini, President of the Italian Association of Head and Neck Oncology (AIOCC) – and this is because it is not talked about enough. All this means that the severity of these diseases is underestimated but also the importance of prevention and early diagnosis which, in nine out of ten cases, can save lives ".

“And it is not a disease with small numbers, just think that every year in Italy 10,000 new cases are registered, of which 75 percent is attributable to the consumption of tobacco and alcoholic beverages. They are high-impact tumors, including emotional ones, because they can compromise not only the functionality of important organs, but also the body image with negative consequences on people's quality of life. They "see" themselves on the face of those who suffer from it ".

In more general terms, there are several risk factors linked to head and neck cancers that can increase the likelihood of developing the disease, as well as smoking and alcohol. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection was found in 31 percent of subjects with cancer of the oropharynx and less frequently in subjects with tumors of the oral cavity and larynx.

Other risk factors can be a diet poor in vitamins A and B, poor oral hygiene, exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus, the one that causes the "kissing" disease or mononucleosis. It is caused by a virus of the Herpes family which is transmitted through saliva and is associated with a particular form of cancer, that of the nasopharynx.

A campaign to "turn on" the spotlight

AIOCC is the official partner of the awareness campaign "No joking with mouth, nose and throat cancers" promoted by MSD Italy. But be careful: the goal is not to scare but to inform, based on science, also considering that the treatments for these forms also appear to be increasingly effective.

Recalling the importance of early diagnosis, which is essential for getting the best results from therapies, nowadays specialized centers are able to offer customized and integrated approaches, which include the various treatment strategies. So pay attention to the possible symptoms of a head and neck cancer: these are signals of various kinds depending on the location of the tumor and it is important to intervene immediately. Then the experts identify how and when to use, also based on the type of tumor and the stage of the disease: the different weapons available: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and, more modernly, immunotherapy and biological therapy.

Category: Health
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