Head and neck cancer (H&N cancer) refers to a group of biologically similar cancers occurring in the head and neck area (lips, nasal cavity, oral cavity (mouth), pharynx, larynx, sinuses, thyroid and salivary glands). H&N cancer ranks sixth among all cancers worldwide and accounts for about 40% of all cancers in Southeast Asia, including India. Advances in all areas of oncology (surgical, radiation, and medical) over the past few decades have made H&N cancer a better understood and better-managed subject today, says the best oral and head neck cancer surgeon in Kolkata.
The symptoms of H&N cancer vary according to the place of origin of cancer. Initially, this may not happen. Because of this characteristic, patients with H&N cancer are often present with advanced diseases – a fact that makes annual cancer screening important in people over the age of 40, especially if they are addicted to tobacco and/or alcohol. The presence
of any of the following, if present for more than four weeks, makes a visit to the head and neck oncologist in Kolkata mandatory:
- Ulcers in the mouth/tongue or lips
- White or red spots/patches on the lining of the mouth, tongue, or mouth
- Inability to stick out the tongue
- Inability to open mouth properly
- Swelling of the base of the gums that prevents dentures from fitting properly
- Abnormal bleeding, pain in the mouth or cheeks, or numbness
- Thickening of the cheeks
- Loose teeth
- There is no sore throat / sore throat that is not experienced
- Vague dialect
- Changes in noise/harshness
- Painful eating and/or difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling around and/or below the jaw may be accompanied by numbness or
paralysis of one side of the face.
- Weight loss
- Swelling in the midline of the lower throat that progresses from swallowing
- Promoting lumps in the throat
- Streak of blood in sputum
The goal of oral and head neck cancer surgery is to remove the tumour with a good margin around it. Along with this, the oncologist also removes the associated lymph nodes. Any surgery on the head and neck region is associated with a functional disability with respect to swallowing and speech. The highly skilled surgeon strives to remove such tumours with great precision and provide proper reconstruction to help the patient achieve excellent functional results.
Surgeries performed include minimally invasive, endoscopic, and open skull base surgery and microlaryngoscopic surgery. New gadgets such as laser and nerve monitoring systems will have to be disposed of by the department. In addition, it is equipped with the state-ofthe-art Da Vinci XI robot, a frontier technology for minimally invasive surgery.
Radiotherapy (a form of high-powered X-ray) is used to treat head and neck cancer. Hundreds of new head and neck cancer patients are treated by the cancer doctor in Kolkata. Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), Image-Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), VMAT, SBRT, and Stereotactic Radiosurgery / Radiation Therapy (SRS / SRT) are the high precision radiotherapy treatments provided. This helps to better control the tumours and help limit the impact on the surrounding normal tissues, thus providing better functional results and quality of life. Dr. Soumen Das is also one of the few cancer specialists in the city who offers intraoperative brachytherapy and SBRT for recurrent head and neck cancer.
Chemotherapy has a considerable role in the management of head cancer. For locally developed diseases, it is used in conjunction with radiation and leads to improvement in survival. Sometimes, it is given before certain surgery or radiation (especially known as neoadjuvant chemotherapy), especially in the management of voice cancer (nasal pharyngeal cancer) and widespread oral cancer. It also has a massive role to play in the management of patients with previous diseases who are not suitable for surgery or radiation therapy.
Our team of experienced oncologists in Kolkata have the highest number of patients treated at the local stage for targeted therapy and advanced stages with targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. Individual therapy, where treatment is modified according to the patient’s stage, health, needs and molecular characteristics (especially in salivary gland cancer) is also performed here. The team’s vast experience can go a long way with the use of highly modern international treatment protocols and individualized medications to ensure improved outcomes for patients with head structure cancer.
This highly specialised head and neck treatment with radioactive compounds is used for the evaluation and treatment of thyroid cancer and rare neuroendocrine tumours.