Each year, more than 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with neck cancer and head cancer, a disease that can affect the appearance of the face and neck, speech, sight, smell, chewing, swallowing and taste. Many of these tumors are treated with surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. One randomized clinical study has shown that the combination of hyperthermia treatment and radiation therapy improves complete response rate by 42% over radiation therapy alone.
Types of Head and Neck Cancers
There are a wide variety of head and neck cancers with varying degrees of rarity. Skin cancer of the head or neck is quite common, while esthesioneuroblastoma, a type of cancer that forms in the nasal cavity, is quite rare.
Other types of head cancer and neck cancers include:
• Throat cancer
• Tonsil cancer
• Mouth cancer
• Lip cancer
• Floor of mouth cancer
• Tongue cancer
• Thyroid cancer
Causes of Head and Neck Cancer
While it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of an individual’s head cancer or neck cancer, there are factors that are known to contribute to its development.
The consumption of alcohol and tobacco are known to be risk factors for cancer. Even chewing tobacco and other forms of tobacco can place a person at risk. Some studies have found alcohol and tobacco use to be a factor in three fourths of certain neck cancers. Certain infections are also known to lead to the development of cancer, like certain types of HPV.
Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer
Symptoms for head and neck cancer vary based on the specific type of cancer. Symptoms can include a noticeable lump, a sore that won’t heal, a persistent sore throat, chronic hoarseness, and trouble swallowing. However, many of these symptoms are caused by other issues, which can make it difficult to determine the exact cause of them without testing.
Patient Story: Kristin
Treatments for Head and Neck Cancers
Treatment plans for head and neck cancers depend on several factors, including the location, the type of cancer, and the size of the lesion. The most common options for treating head and neck cancers include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.
Improving Treatment of Head and Neck Cancer with Hyperthermia
Treatments for head and neck cancer can be improved when they are performed in conjunction with hyperthermia. Hyperthermia is FDA-approved cancer therapy that uses ultrasound technology to gently raise the temperature of tumors. Heating the tumor disrupts the cell membrane and increases blood flow. This weakens the tumor and makes it more susceptible to other cancer treatments.
In a clinical study conducted in Italy involving 41 patients (44 nodes) with inoperable Stage IV head and neck cancer, patients receiving hyperthermia and radiation therapy had an 83% complete response rate compared to 41% for patients who received radiation therapy alone, and the 3-year local relapse-free survival rate was 24% for patients receiving only radiation and 68% for those who received both radiation and hyperthermia treatment.
An article published in 2017 studied the effectiveness of combining radiotherapy and chemotherapy with hyperthermia for the treatment of head and neck cancers. In one case, 451 patients were analyzed over the course of six studies that compared the effectiveness of radiotherapy against radiotherapy with hyperthermia. The Complete Response rate of radiotherapy was 39.6%, while radiotherapy with hyperthermia had a 62.5% rate.
Another set of randomized trials analyzed the effectiveness of combining radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and hyperthermia. 417 patients were studied, and the results showed that the trimodal treatment was incredibly effective, with numbers showing improvements in the rates of progression-free survival, disease-free survival, and overall quality of life.
To schedule an appointment and find out more about hyperthermia treatment for neck cancer or head cancer, please contact us.