25 facts about HNSCC

  1. Cancers of the head and neck account for 6-8 percent of all malignancies in the western world and is the 6th most common cancer.
  2. The majority of the time, people are over the age of 40 when oral, head and neck cancer is discovered.
  3. Cigarette smoking increases your risk of head and neck cancer by 15 times compared to a non-smoker.
  4. People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at much greater risk than people who use them alone.
  5. Physical factors such as exposure to ultraviolet radiation are factors contributing to cancers of the lips and skin.
  6. Over the past ten years, an increasing number of people with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) who were young, non-smokers have developed oral, head and neck cancer.
  7. People who work in environments with dust (wood workers), glues, formaldehyde, mustard gas, and radium are at higher risk for developing nasal and paranasal cancer.
  8. Nasopharyngeal cancer occurs mainly in Chinese and North African immigrants and is related to EBV virus.
  9. Men are affected about twice as often as women with laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer, whereas in oral cancer this difference is less pronounced.
  10. Around 2500 people are diagnosed with oral, head and neck cancer every year in the Netherlands. Worldwide, over 400,000 new cases of oral, head and neck cancer are diagnosed each year.
  11. Signs of oral, head and neck cancer: a sore in your mouth that doesn’t heal, constant pain in your mouth or throat, swallowing complaints, hoarse voice, lumps or patches in your mouth, pain around your teeth, and a lump in your neck.
  12. Head and neck cancers often spread to the lymph nodes of the neck and this can be the first sign.
  13. Once cancer is in the lymph nodes, it is more likely to spread to distant sites (10-25% do).
  14. Surgery and radiation therapy are the most common treatment modalities and chemotherapy is administered concomitant to RTX in case of advanced tumors. The choice depends on tumor site, stage and doctor-patient preferences.
  15. Treatment of head and neck cancers is concentrated in a few recognized centers: grouped in the NWHHT (Nederlandse Werkgroep Hoofd-Hals Tumoren). It requires many different professionals, such as specialized ENT/maxillofacial/head and neck surgeons, radiation oncologists, chemotherapy oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and speech therapists.
  16. In the Netherlands cancer of the larynx is still the most common head and neck cancer.
  17. Salivary gland tumors in the parotids are mostly benign (80%) whereas tumors in the submandibular glands are more often malignant (50%).
  18. Salivary gland cancer does not seem to be related to any particular cause.
  19. Because of the location of head and neck cancer, the tumor and treatment often affects breathing, eating, voice, speaking, and appearance.
  20. 50% of people with head and neck cancers have very advanced cases by the time they first see a doctor.
  21. White patches in the mouth that will not rub off develop into cancer in about 5-20%. Red patches in the mouth that are persistent, and do not have an obvious cause can develop into cancer about 20-30% of the time.
  22. Thyroid cancer can develop in anyone, although there often is a family history or exposure to radiation involved.
  23. Only about 1 in 20 palpable thyroid nodules are cancerous.
  24. Thyroid cancer is more common in women than in men.
  25. In general, thyroid cancer is one of the least deadly cancers of the head and neck.