Head and neck cancers aren’t as often talked about or publicized as much as other types of cancer, but it doesn’t make these any less serious. Regardless of whether a member of your family has been diagnosed with head and neck cancer or you are experiencing some worrisome symptoms of your own, it’s important that you have an ENT specialist on your side to provide you with the care you need.
Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term that encompasses five different kinds of cancers that affect the pharynx (throat), sinuses, larynx (voice box), mouth, and the salivary glands.
Cancer can develop anywhere on the lips or inside the mouth. You may notice a red or white patch, or a lump, in your mouth that doesn’t go away. You may notice facial swelling, particularly around the jaw. You may also have difficulty swallowing or chewing. While a dentist can often pinpoint these early warning signs during a routine dental exam, if they suspect that it might be cancerous they may also turn to an ENT doctor for further medical care.
The pharynx runs from your nose to the esophagus and cancer of the throat can cause difficulty breathing or swallowing, persistent or severe throat pain, ringing in the ears, or difficulty hearing.
Cancer of the Larynx
The voice box (this includes your vocal chords and a structure known as the epiglottis) can also develop cancer. Symptoms are similar to pharyngeal cancer, as you may experience difficulty or painful swallowing or ear pain. You may also notice changes to your voice include chronic hoarseness. It may also feel as if a lump is constantly in your throat.
Cancer of the Salivary Glands
The salivary glands, as you may have already guessed, are responsible for the production of saliva. These glands are found in the mouth close to the jawbone. Signs of salivary gland cancer include persistent or severe jawbone and facial pain, muscle numbness, or weakness in the face, as well as swelling near the jawbone.
Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer
It’s important to recognize that the symptoms of nasal cavity cancer are similar to a lot of other less serious condition; however, it’s important to seek medical attention from an ENT specialist if you notice these symptoms:
- Chronic or recurring nosebleeds
- Chronic or severe nasal blockages or sinus infections
- Facial swelling, particularly around the nose and eyes
- Recurring pain in the upper teeth
Do you have questions about head and neck cancer? Are you experiencing any symptoms that give you pause? If so, this is the perfect time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can provide you with the diagnostic care and treatment you need.
If you’ve ever watched a boxing or MMA fight on television then chances are good that you may have noticed something a bit odd and maybe a bit disturbing about some of the fighters—their ears. Some fights have what is called “cauliflower ear” in which the outer ears have become deformed due to blunt-force trauma. This is most common in athletes who wrestle, box or are involved in contact sports (e.g. rugby). When someone develops auricular hematoma the goal is to always treat the problem right away to prevent cauliflower ear from happening in the future.
While wearing the proper headgear and protection can often prevent an auricular hematoma, sometimes injuries to the outer ear can still occur. When this hematoma surfaces the blood starts to collect, causing the cartilage and the connective tissue around it (perichondrium) to separate. If left untreated, the cartilage of the outer ear no longer gets the blood flow it needs, which leads to cartilage death (necrosis).
If this happens to you or someone you know it’s important that you seek treatment right away so that the ear can be properly drained and to prevent blood from collecting inside the ear. By coming in right away for medical care, an ENT doctor can prevent complications such as cartilage necrosis, infection, tympanic membrane rupture and cauliflower ear.
In order to properly drain the hematoma, this minor procedure is performed with a local anesthesia. Once the ear is numb, a small incision is made to the outer ear to drain the blood that has collected. Once the procedure is finished, there are several methods for which to bandage the ear.
Of course, one of the most common ways is to use thermoplastic splints, which prevent blood from re-accumulating within the ear. In other instances, a simple mattress suture is placed, which also prevents blood from collecting but doesn’t need to be removed (unlike splints). Once the sutures or splints have been placed, the ear will be covered with clean gauze. Finally, the head is wrapped in order to hold the gauze in place.
Before you leave, your ENT doctor will provide you with all the information you will need for how to keep the ear clean and protected as it heals. Just know that this kind of damage to the ear can be serious if left untreated. If you experienced this kind of trauma it’s important that you seek the guidance of an otolaryngologist right away so that we can tend to this traumatic injury and prevent complications.
Find out when it might be time to consider getting sinus surgery.
A sinus infection will happen to many of us at some point during our lifetime, but what if the issues you are experiencing don’t seem to go away? If you have chronic sinusitis then chances are good that you’ve already turned to our Sun City and Sun City West, AZ, otolaryngologists for a proper diagnosis. While chronic sinusitis can often be treated through medication, lifestyle modifications and other more aggressive treatment options, it’s also important to understand when it might be time to consider getting sinus surgery.
It’s important to understand that sinus surgery isn’t the most common way to treat sinus problems. You’ll want to think of surgery as the final resort when other less invasive treatment options aren’t working. Many people are able to manage their chronic sinusitis with at-home care and medications; however, surgery may be the right approach for people dealing with long-term sinusitis.
Things to Consider
If you are someone who deals with recurring or severe sinus infections this can cause some serious blockages within the nasal cavity. This can also lead to other complications and health problems. In this case, surgery may be the best way to remove the blockage and to open up the sinuses to make breathing easier. By draining the sinuses, our Sun City and Sun City West, AZ, ENT doctor can prevent future sinus infections.
Before determining whether or not sinus surgery is right for you, you will first need to go through regular treatment for several weeks (up to 6 weeks) before determining that these at-home measures aren’t working and that you’ll require additional and more aggressive treatment. Some of these at-home treatment options include taking steroid nasal sprays and other prescription medications.
From there, we will run a CT scan of your sinuses to help us determine the cause of your infection. For example, if we discover that nasal polyps are causing your sinus problems we can remove them during surgery. We can also make sure that any infection that’s present doesn’t continue to spread.
Fortunately, endoscopic sinus surgery can remove the blockage without incisions or more invasive techniques, which means milder side effects and no downtime. Most people experience relief right away, with results lasting up to 2 years or more.
Are you dealing with chronic sinusitis in Sun City or Sun City West? Are you having trouble getting your sinus problems under control? If you said “yes” then it’s time to call Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians today.
While there have been commercials and ads occurring for years that talk about the negative impact smoking has on your health, perhaps it’s been something that you haven’t really paid attention to; however, if you’ve been smoking for a while and you are looking for a reason to quit, let an otolaryngologist tell you the many long-term and potentially serious health problems smoking can cause.
Many of the chemicals found in cigarettes are harmful and several of them have even been linked to cancer; however, smoking is the most common preventable cause of death in the US, according to the CDC. So it’s important to quit smoking if you want to protect yourself from:
Every time you take a puff of a cigarette or consume a tobacco product you are exposing your lungs to poisonous chemicals that damage both the airways and the alveoli in your lungs. Along with the increased risk of infection, you are also putting yourself at an incredible risk for long-term or potentially serious lung problems such as:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Lung cancer
If you are someone who has asthma, tobacco may not only increase your chances of an asthma attack but it can also make asthma attacks worse.
The nicotine found in tobacco products is known to restrict blood flow. Not only does this affect healing but also it can damage the walls of the blood vessels and raise your blood pressure. As a result, this can increase your chances of heart disease, heart attack or stroke. Of course, exposing others around you to smoke increases their risk of cardiovascular problems, as well.
Besides the increased risk of throat, lung or esophageal cancer, smoking can also increase your chances of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, smoking affects insulin production, which can increase your chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
Smoking and Other Health Problems
Smoking affects just about every system in your body, from your skin and eyes to your stomach and colon. Smoking also increases your risk of cancer-related death. By quitting smoking you could drastically cut your risk of cardiovascular problems in just one year. Your risk of stroke or developing cancer will also drop drastically the first few years after you quit.
If you are trying to quit smoking you don’t have to do it alone. Talk to an ENT doctor who can provide you with the recommendations you need to quit smoking for good. You deserve to lead a long, healthy life.
Has your otolaryngologist told you that you have a deviated septum? If so, you may be wondering what this condition is, what issues it could possibly cause and when it might be time to have the issue corrected.
A deviated septum is a structural abnormality within the nose in which the wall that separates the two nasal passages deviates more to one side. As a result, one nasal passage is much smaller than the other. In more severe cases, the deviated septum can even completely block one passageway, making it more difficult to breathe out of your nose.
Those who have a deviated septum may find that they deal with more frequent nosebleeds or swelling of the nasal tissue. You may also experience facial pain and pressure. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or finding it difficult to breathe out of your nose then you will want to visit an ENT doctor who can perform a thorough evaluation and determine whether your symptoms are caused by a deviated septum or another issue.
If we determine that you have a deviated septum there are a couple different courses of action in which we can take. If the deviated septum isn’t causing severe issues then the first defense will be to better manage your symptoms through the use of steroid nasal sprays, decongestants or antihistamines. While these medications won’t correct the problem it will help to reduce nasal congestion and swelling within the nasal passages to help you breathe better.
Of course, if your symptoms are severe and not controlled through medication then the next step will be surgery to repair the structural deformity. This procedure is called septoplasty, in which an ENT specialist will make incisions into the septum so that it can be repositioned into the proper place. In some cases, a rhinoplasty (“nose job”) may also be performed during the septoplasty to correct the shape, size or alignment of the nose and improve its appearance.
If you think you may be suffering from a deviated septum this is the perfect time to pick up the phone and call an otolaryngologist who can help manage your symptoms and help you breathe better.
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