The American Cancer Society reports that head and neck cancers are increasing in young men and are more common than ever. This is due in large part to the prevalence of HPV infection, which is a leading cause of oropharyngeal cancer. This type of cancer is particularly dangerous for young men, and the rate of new cases has increased dramatically over the past 20 years.
The most common causes of head and neck cancer are tobacco and alcohol. These substances can cause mouth, throat, and voice box cancer. The disease affects more men than women, but it is particularly common among older men. Smoking and heavy alcohol use are risk factors for oral and pharyngeal cancer in men. While younger men are more likely to develop these conditions than their elders, the majority of people with this type of cancer are men.
Although it is unclear how much of a role alcohol has in developing head and neck cancer, there are ways to reduce the risk of cancer. Tobacco and alcohol use are the two most common risk factors for these types of disease. Avoiding both of these habits may help prevent or even reverse head and neck cancers in young men. These habits are also linked to a higher incidence of aging.
Head and neck cancers are highly treatable. Drugs targeting EGFR (epidermoid follicle-derived growth factor receptor) may slow or stop the growth of head and neck cancer. In some cases, the treatment will cause voice changes, usually due to surgery to remove vocal cords. Radiation therapy may result in hoarseness. Other symptoms include dysphagia, which can range from chronic dry mouth to an inability to swallow saliva.
Early-stage neck cancers are easily treated with surgery and radiation therapy. Patients with advanced stage T1 head and neck cancers can opt for resection alone. Then, recurrence management involves complex decision-making, and the treatment should be similar to that of early-stage T1 head and neck cancers. The doses should be equivalent to those used for locally advanced T1 or T2 tumors.
These cancers are a leading cause of death among younger men, and they are more common in young men than in any other age group. Fortunately, early diagnosis can significantly improve the patient’s quality of life and the outcome of treatment. For this reason, it’s important to know the symptoms and risk factors associated with the disease. If detected early, these cancers can be treated successfully and result in a successful outcome.
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