Donate to Head and Neck Cancers Research, Patient Care and Education

Head and neck cancers usually develop within the squamous cells, or moist tissue that lines the inside of the mouth, nose, and throat. Alcohol and tobacco use are among the most prevalent risk factors for the growth of head and neck cancers. Infection with forms of human papillomavirus (HPV), especially HPV type 16, is a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers, which affect the tonsils and tongue. Other risk factors for neck and head cancers might include:

  • Consuming large quantities of preserved or salted foods
  • Occupational exposure
  • Vulnerability to radiation
  • Epstein-Barr infection

An estimated 65,000 people will be diagnosed with head and neck cancers in the United States this year. Men are diagnosed with these cancers over twice as frequently as women. Diagnoses are most common in people over the age of 50. A donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation will support the team of head and neck cancer specialists at Northwestern Medicine, who have leading expertise in the analysis, research, and treatment of cancers of the larynx (voice box), lips, throat, mouth, nose, and salivary glands.

In the mouth, cancer can cause:

  • A white or red sore that does not heal on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Unusual bleeding or pain in the mouth
  • A lump on or thickening of the mouth or neck
  • Problems with dentures

At the pharynx (back of the mouth), cancer can cause:

  • Trouble breathing or speaking
  • A lump on or thickening of the mouth or neck
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing food
  • A feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Pain in the throat that will not go away
  • Pain or ringing in the ears or trouble hearing

In the larynx (voice box), cancer can cause:

  • Pain when swallowing
  • Ear pain

In the sinuses and nasal cavity, cancer can cause:

  • Blocked sinuses that do not clear
  • Sinus infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics
  • Bleeding through the nose
  • Headaches
  • Pain and swelling around the eyes
  • Pain in the upper teeth
  • Problems with dentures

Your generous donation to Northwestern Medicine will contribute to multidisciplinary care for the identification and treatment of neck and head cancers. Northwestern Medicine treats a wide variety of head and neck cancers, several of which include:

  • Esophageal cancer
  • Eye cancer
  • Larynx cancer
  • Nasal and sinus cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Throat cancer
  • Thyroid cancer

Head and Neck Cancers Research, Patient Care and Education Donation

In order to determine whether a patient has head or neck cancer, a physician on the medical staff will evaluate the medical history of the individual, perform a physical exam, and order diagnostic tests. The exams and tests may differ depending upon the symptoms of the patient. Examination of a sample of tissue under a microscope is required to confirm a diagnosis of cancer. Once a patient is diagnosed with cancer, his or her physician will determine the stage (or extent) of the disease, which may involve an evaluation under anesthesia within an operating room, x-rays and other imaging procedures, and lab tests. You can assist physicians with performing these diagnoses, in addition to treating patients with head and neck cancers and searching for a cure, with a donation to Northwestern Memorial Foundation.

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