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100 Questions About Head and Neck Cancer Part 1. The Basics 1. What is cancer? 2. Is cancer a tumor? 3. How does the pathologist get the cells? 4. What makes a cell become a cancer cell? 5. Are all cancers of the head and neck the same? 6. What is the nasopharynx? Where is it located? 7. What are the nasal sinuses? Where are they found? How do they function? 8. What structures are found in the oral cavity? How do they function? 9. What structures are found in the oropharynx? How do they function? 10. What structures are found in the hypopharynx? How do they function? 11. What is the larynx? How does it function? 12. What are lymph nodes? 13. What does it mean when the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes? 14. Are all cancers of the head and neck fatal? 15. Is cancer contagious? 16. Who gets cancer? 17. Did I cause my cancer? 18. What are risk factors? Part 2: Risk and Prevention 19. What are the risk factors for developing cancer of the head and neck? 20. If someone in my family has head and neck cancer, how does that affect my risk? 21. What can I do to prevent head and neck cancer? Have medications or vitamins been proven to decrease the risk? 22. If I have already had head and neck cancer, is there still a chance I can develop another cancer? Part 3: Screening and Diagnosis 23. How do I know if I have a cancer of the head and neck? Is there a way for me to be screened? 24. If my nose and sinuses remain congested despite medicines, should I be worried? 25. Is bleeding from the nose every day normal? 26. The skin of my face feels numb on one side. Is this normal? 27. My tongue doesn¿t move as well as it used to. Should I be worried? 28. When I swallow I often have food that seems to get stuck. Should I be worried? 29. My voice is hoarse. Should I be worried? 30. If I have a lump in my neck but it doesn¿t hurt. My doctor tells me that I need a FNA biopsy of this lump. What is this and why is it done? 31. My doctor says I need a CT scan and a PET scan to evaluate my ¿extent of disease¿. What does this mean? Why are these tests used? Part 4: Treatment 32. What are the most common cancers of the head and neck? 33. How does head and neck cancer spread? 34. How do I decide whether to choose surgical or non-surgical treatment? 35. Which cancers are best treated with surgery? 36. Why are cancers of the oral cavity usually treated with surgery? 37. How are cancers of the larynx and oropharynx usually treated? 38. What is the best treatment for hypopharynx cancer? 39. What is chemotherapy and does everyone get it? 40. Can some cancers be treated with chemotherapy alone? 41. What side effects will I feel from chemotherapy? 42. Should I receive chemotherapy after surgery or radiation therapies? 43. What is induction chemotherapy? 44. Will I lose my hair during chemoradiation treatment? 45. What is a biologic therapy? 46. Which cancers are best treated with radiation therapy? 47. What is radiation therapy and when is used? 48. How is radiation delivered? 49. What is IMRT? 50. What is the difference among photons, protons and neutrons? 51. What is accelerated radiation or hyperfractionated radiation? 52. What is stereotactic radiosurgery? Am I eligible for this? 53. How will I feel during radiation therapy? 54. Why should I avoid missing treatment (called treatment break) during radiation therapy? 55. Why should I get a dental evaluation before radiation therapy? Why should I follow up with a dentist after radiation therapy? 56. What is osteoradionecrosis and how can I avoid it? 57. Why should I keep seeing my head and neck doctors after finishing my treatment? Are there preventive steps I can take to avoid cancers in the future? 58. How important is nutrition during therapy? How do I avoid losing weight during radiation therapy? 59. What is a feeding tube? Will I need this? 60. Are anti-oxidant vitamins good for me? 61. Can I smoke during or after radiation treatment? 62. If I am a smoker and already have a head and neck cancer, why should I stop smoking? 63. What can I do about my dry mouth? 64. Should I join a support group and how much should I involve my family? 65. Can I take complementary methods during treatment? 66. If my tumor returns despite treatment, can I be treated again? 67. Can I have children after chemoradiation treatment? 68. Should I wear a lead apron during radiation treatment? 69. When will my taste return? How do I deal with thick mucus? 70. What is hypothyroidism? 71. Can radiation cause cancer? 72. What is a neck lymph node dissection? Why should I undergo neck surgery after radiation therapy? 73. If I have my voice box removed surgically, how can I communicate? 74. If my tongue is partly removed, how will my speech be affected? 75. What is a skin graft and flap? 76. Why do I have swallowing problems after therapy? Part 5 : Changes Cancer Brings 77. Why is it important to learn how to effectively cope with my diagnosis of head and neck cancer? 78. How do I know whether I am making the best treatment decisions regarding my newly diagnosed head and neck cancer? 79. When I am at home, I think of many important questions to ask my health care provider. When I do go in to see my health care team, I get nervous and distracted. How can I be more relaxed and better express myself to the medical team? 80. I feel as though my life is out of control after my diagnosis of head and neck cancer. How can I regain control? 81. How do I talk to my family about my diagnosis? 82. How do I talk to my children about my diagnosis? 83. How do I talk to my friends about my diagnosis? 84. Who is at higher risk to experience difficulties in coping with cancer? 85. How do I know when my level of distress has reached a level for which I need professional help? 86. Are there any useful techniques or therapies to help me manage the stress of my diagnosis, upcoming surgery, and possible chemotherapy/radiation therapy? 87. I have been using the suggesting coping techniques, but I still feel down most of the time, and I constantly worry about my cancer despite the fact that I was diagnosed almost 4 weeks ago. What should I do? 88. Should I consider using medications to help my depression and anxiety? 89. Ever since I first suspected I had cancer, I have had many thoughts and dreams about death, including how my own death will be. Is this normal? 90. I don¿t have cancer, but my closest friend (or family member) does. How can I be there for my friend and her family? 91. My spouse/partner was recently diagnosed with head and neck cancer and I am feeling overwhelmed. How can I ¿be strong¿ and supportive to my loved one while continuing to cope with my own reaction to this diagnosis? 92. Will I be able to continue working during radiation treatments and chemotherapy? Should I tell my supervisor and colleagues about my diagnosis? 93. What if I don¿t feel well enough to work full-time? 94. How can I protect myself financially while being faced with expensive treatment for my head and neck cancer? 95. What is home care and what can I expect from home care after my surgery and during other treatments? 96. I have completed all my treatments and my provider tells me that there is no evidence of cancer. How can I get on with my life and start feeling ¿normal¿ again? 97. What is a health care proxy and living will? Is this legal? 98. The doctors say that there is nothing more they can do to treat my friend¿s cancer and have recommended hospice. What should she do now? 99. Now that I have completed cancer treatment, how do I get on with my life? 100. Where can I get more information about head and neck cancer?
Library of Congress Subject Headings for this publication:
Head -- Cancer -- Miscellanea.
Neck -- Cancer -- Miscellanea.