Head & Neck Cancers

Head & Neck Cancers

What is head and neck cancer?

The term head and neck cancer includes a range of different cancers that originate from the head and neck. Most head and neck cancers originate from a tissue called squamous epithelium which lines the inside of the mouth, nose and throat.

Head and neck cancer includes:

Cancers that originate from other parts of the head and neck (like brain, eye, thyroid, or oesophagus cancer) are not typically included in the classification of head and neck cancer.

How common is head and neck cancer?

Over 5,000 new cases of head and neck cancer were diagnosed in Australia in 2020, making it Australia’s 7th most common type of cancer.

What causes head and neck cancer?

It is not always known why a person gets cancer. However, there are several factors which increase a person’s chances of developing the disease. Important risk factors for head and neck cancer include:

Head and neck cancer is most often diagnosed over the age of 40, and is more common in men than in women.

Head & Neck Cancers

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?

The symptoms of head and neck cancer can vary, but may include:

These symptoms do not necessarily mean that you have cancer. However, any persistent symptom should always be checked by your family doctor.

Head & Neck Cancers

How is head and neck cancer treated?

The treatment of head and neck cancer depends on the location of the cancer and its spread. Many cases of head and neck cancer require surgery. This may be combined with radiation and/or chemotherapy.

Each cancer case should be managed by a Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Cancer treatment team who are extensively trained in the management of this complex disease. Dr Crawford is a member of the St Vincent’s Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Team which sees patients every week at the Kinghorn Cancer Care Centre in Darlinghurst. This world-class clinic aims to provide patients with individualised care ensuring that you receive the optimal treatment pathway for your individual situation. Patient centred-care also means that you are actively involved in your treatment plan.

What is the prognosis of head and neck cancer?

The prognosis of head and neck cancer depends on how far the cancer has spread, and the nature of the cancer cells. In Australia, 71% of people diagnosed with head and neck cancer are still living 5 years after diagnosis.

Dr Julia Crawford is committed to comprehensive, evidence-based care that optimises your health and wellbeing regardless of the nature or stage of your illness, and utilises the latest treatment modalities to manage her patients who have developed head and neck cancer.

If your family doctor suspects that you may have head and neck cancer, please arrange for a referral and call our practice on 02 8319 9434 to arrange for a consultation with Dr Crawford.