Head And Neck Cancer – FAQs

Head And Neck Cancer: FAQs

Radiation Therapy Treatment in Orange County, CA

At Orange County CyberKnife, our mission is to be your comprehensive resource for treating virtually any cancerous condition. As a premier cancer treatment center serving the Orange County, CA area, we’re proud to provide world-class treatments to our patients including noninvasive solutions like CyberKnife. In addition to treatment, we strive to be an educational resource to our patients – so here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about head & neck cancers.

Contact Your Orange County Cancer Treatment Facility

Fighting cancer is a difficult battle, but if you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with head and neck cancer or any other condition, OC CyberKnife can help. Call us today at 714.962.7100 if you have more questions or want to schedule an appointment for a consultation or second opinion. We look forward to working with you to help you design a treatment plan that helps you overcome your condition and reclaim your life – all on your own terms.  

Answer :

Risk factors refer to elements or variables that may make one person more likely to develop cancer than another person. These factors may be behavioral, genetic, or environmental, and while they change the likelihood of developing cancer, they are by no means conclusive: there’s no way to say for certain who will develop head & neck cancer and who will not. That said, the following risk factors may place you at an increased likelihood for developing head & neck cancer:


  • Tobacco & Alcohol Use: Smoking and smokeless tobacco use both increase the likelihood of head & neck cancer, as does alcohol consumption. People who drink heavily (2 or more drinks per day)  are at a significantly increased risk, and those who regularly smoke and drink are an even higher risk.
  • Gender: Head & neck cancer is roughly 2-3 times more prevalent in men than women.
  • Race: Certain forms of head & neck cancer are more common in African Americans than in white Americans.
  • Sun Exposure: Unprotected, long-term sun exposure increases the risk of both cancer in the mouth and lip area as well as skin cancer.
  • Certain Infections: Some variants of human papillomavirus (HPV) and EpsteinBarr virus (EBV) strongly raise the likelihood of head & neck cancer.
  • Age: Head & neck cancer is far more common in people over 40.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Failing to take proper care of the mouth and teeth increases the risk of developing head & neck cancer.
  • Poor Diet: A diet deficient of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients can increase the risk for head & neck cancer.
  • Chemical Exposures: Exposure to wood dust, asbestos, paint fumes, and other chemicals can increase the likelihood of developing head & neck cancer.

Immune System Issues: Anyone with a suppressed immune system, like those with an immunodeficiency disorder or those with an organ transplant, is at an increased risk of developing head & neck cancer.

Answer :

Symptoms vary widely depending on the type, size, and location of the tumor, but some common symptoms include:


  • An open sore or visible growth in the mouth or throat
  • An abnormal lump in the neck
  • A lump in the nose or a sore that won’t heal
  • A persistent sore throat that doesn’t go away or respond to treatment
  • Muscle weakness
  • Numbness in the face or throat
  • Ear pain
  • Swollen eyes or swollen tissue around the jaw
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Frequent nosebleeds or nosebleeds that won’t stop
  • Persistent cough or hoarse voice that won’t go away
  • Any difficulty speaking, swallowing, or breathing
  • Frequent headaches or pain around the nose, cheeks, jaws, forehead, or throat
  • Vomiting
  • Coughing up blood

These symptoms may be a result of head & neck cancer or a variety of other conditions, but in any case, they should be evaluated and treated by a doctor as quickly as possible.

Answer :

While every patient is different, a second opinion from a different doctor or cancer treatment center is almost always a good idea. Some of the reasons for a second opinion include:

  • Feeling uncomfortable with your treatment decision
  • Diagnosis with a rare or difficult type of cancer to treat
  • Feeling generally uncomfortable with your doctor or having other opinions about your treatment
  • Inability to see a cancer expert or specialist in your cancerous condition

Second opinions for cancer diagnoses are often covered by insurance, and in fact, many insurance companies require you to get a second opinion before ever starting treatment. For almost any patient with a cancer diagnosis, getting a second opinion should be a routine part of the early care for the cancer.

Answer :

You have a wide variety of options for getting a second opinion on your cancer treatment:


  • Ask Your Primary Care Doctor: Often, your doctor can recommend a specialist in your condition like a surgeon, medical oncologist, or radiation oncologist. Often, these doctors work in concert together at dedicated cancer treatment centers.
  • Call the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Information Service: Call (800) 4-CANCER or (800) ­422-­6237. This hotline can connect you to cancer centers and other resources to help you get a qualified second opinion.
  • Check for Local Options: Often, your local medical society, hospital, medical school, or cancer advocacy group can connect you with highly qualified professionals that can provide a second opinion. You can also connect with someone who has had your specific type of cancer and ask them for a referral.
  • Contact OC CyberKnife: At Orange County CyberKnife, we regularly provide second opinions for head and neck cancer as well as a wide variety of other conditions. Reach out to us at our contact page to schedule a second opinion appointment.
Answer :

Because head and neck cancer encompasses so many different conditions, treatment options will vary greatly depending on your specific type of cancer, the location of the tumor, and what stage of cancer you have. Some of the most common treatments for head and neck cancer include chemotherapy, surgery, targeted therapy, and radiation therapy treatments like CyberKnife.