Identifying Head and Neck Cancers

Head and neck cancers include a diverse group of tumors from areas of the upper aerodigestive tract, glands, and skin in the head and neck area. Head and neck tumors affect speech, swallowing, and everyday social interactions. Effective treatment requires balancing advanced treatments with functional outcomes to optimize your quality of life during and after treatment.

Most upper aerodigestive tract cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which can begin in the squamous cells that line the moist mucosal surfaces inside the mouth, nose, and throat. The thyroid gland, salivary glands, and parathyroid glands are common sites of head and neck tumors. Head and neck cancers also include skin, muscle, and bone cancers arising in the head and neck.

Signs, Symptoms, and Causes of Head and Neck Cancers

Signs & Symptoms

A lump or swelling in the neck

Change in the voice, or progressively hoarse voice

A growth or sore in the mouth, either painless or painful

Swallowing problems or frequent coughing or choking with swallowing

Abnormal skin growths or moles

Persistent earache

Potential Causes

Alcohol and tobacco use, either smoked or chewed

High-risk strains of the human papillomavirus (HPV)

Radiation

Family history of thyroid problems

Underlying genetic disorders

 

People at risk of head and neck cancers―particularly those who use tobacco―should discuss screening exams and ways to reduce their risk with their doctor.

Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services and Follow-up Care

Rehabilitation is crucial during and after head and neck cancer treatment to help patients address physical and psychosocial needs. We tailor rehabilitation goals for each patient based on the disease's extent and the treatment a patient has received.

You'll receive full rehabilitation support to return to normal activities as soon as possible. These services include swallowing therapy, lymphedema therapy, nutritional benefits, occupational and physical therapy, social work, palliative, speech therapy, and reconstructive surgery.

Comprehensive follow-up care is also critical during and after treatment. Once your treatment is complete, we may conduct imaging studies, and you will have regular, structured follow-up visits with providers for cancer surveillance.

Learn About Broward Health’s Rehabilitation Services
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Doctor checking patient's lymph nodes

Why Choose Broward Health?

We have a distinct patient-focused approach to care at Broward Health. Treatment for benign or malignant head and neck tumors may significantly impact your ability to speak, breathe, swallow, and communicate. Recognizing this connection, the head and neck cancer team at Broward Health relies on a collaborative, multidisciplinary, and team-based approach to treatment.

Our providers utilize innovative treatments, including minimally invasive techniques and robotic surgery, new radiation treatment approaches, and targeted, immune-based therapies to help your body fight cancer.

Broward Health's surgical care team uses advanced and innovative head and neck cancer treatment methods. We implement minimally invasive approaches where possible, including robotic and endoscopic surgery.

Meet Our Team

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Head and Neck Cancer Program Director

Photo of Doctor Ryan SobelDr. Ryan H. Sobel is a fellowship-trained head and neck surgeon and Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Program at Broward Health. He has extensive experience in minimally invasive surgery for head and neck conditions, including Transoral robotic surgery (TORS) and endoscopic surgery.

Dr. Sobel works with a multidisciplinary team of head and neck cancer specialists at Broward Health to discuss each treatment option, including how it might change how they look, talk, eat, or breathe.

 

 

Head and Neck Cancer Articles

Doctor checking patient's lymph nodes
Why Your Healthcare Provider Examines Your Neck and Throat

When your healthcare provider gently presses on the outside of your throat and neck during an office visit, it may seem like a brief and unimportant part of your exam. But checking the throat and neck can help your provider diagnose many illnesses and disorders.

Woman with her hand pressed against her throat
Voice Disorders

You may have a voice disorder if you have a problem with pitch, volume, tone, and other qualities of your voice. These problems occur when your vocal cords don't vibrate normally.

Smiling little girl checking smiling doctor's ear with an otoscope
Ear, Nose, and Throat Facts

The ear is the organ of hearing and balance. The nose is the organ of smell. The throat is a ring-like muscular tube.