Head and neck cancer
Head and neck cancer are a group of tumours located in the head and the neck, specifically the nose and paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx or cavum, oropharynx, oral cavity, larynx, hypopharynx and salivary glands among the most frequent and common.
The most frequent causes that may be involved in the development of this type of tumours are tobacco, alcohol and infection by the human papilloma virus (HPV), the latter especially in oropharynx tumours (tongue base, pharyngeal wall, tonsils…).
Symptoms will consist of ailments depending on the location where the primary tumour is implanted:
- Pain when swallowing in the case of oropharynx, hypopharynx.
- Pain radiating to the ears, typically in the hypopharynx, among others.
- Aphonia or hoarseness in the case of laryngeal tumours, including that of the vocal cords.
- Lesions in the mouth in oral cavity tumours, such as mobile tongue, gums, jugal mucosa …
- Lumps in the neck usually occur in the event that the primary tumour (responsible) metastasizes to lymph nodes in the neck (in this case we are talking about a locally advanced disease.
The basic treatments are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
In the case of radiation therapy, several sessions are needed to perform curative treatments as adjuncts to surgery (after surgery). Several sessions that, depending on the protocols of each Centre and each individual patient case, can be between 20-30 sessions with Integrated Boost (SIB).
The techniques normally used are Intensity Modulated or Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) plus Image Guided Radiation Therapy (IGRT), allowing administration of adequate doses to the lesion while protecting the surrounding organs. Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy (SBRT) is indicated to treat oligometastatic patients, that is, those cases with a reduced number of metastases, and with the option of being more curative by administering high doses of radiation in each of the lesions.