In addition to noting all signs and symptoms, a doctor may recommend following tests to diagnose HNC:
The plan of treatment for each patient will depend on where the tumor is located, cancer stage, persons age and health condition. The treatment options range from surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy or a combination of these.
Role of oncologists: (2)
An oncologist is the doctor who treats or provides medical care for patients diagnosed with cancer:
Radiation or Chemotherapy is used to stop growth of fast-growing cancer cells, to reduce the tumor and keep the cancer from coming back. This may reduce the symptoms caused by cancer. But this also targets healthy cells and hence there are a lot of side effects seen with this therapy and the patient may need time for their healthy cells to heal. The doctor may also select to surgically remove the affected portion, organ or tissues in the head and neck region to avoid spread of cancer to other areas. (3,4)
Doctors may also use newer therapies like hormones, immunotherapy or targeted therapy which may use body’s own mechanisms to fight cancer.
It will target the cancer specific protein while limiting damage to healthy cells. Targeted therapy will work only if the tumor has the necessary target proteins to attack, your doctor will perform test to evaluate it.
It boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. While they target the cancer cells, they may also have effect on healthy cells and side effects may be seen which the doctor can manage.