Ask a Pro with Dr. Robert Reynolds

by | March 14th, 2022 | News

Ask a Pro w/ Dr. Robert Reynolds,

Radiation Oncologist, Bismarck Cancer Center

Q: I’ve heard that head and neck cancers are on the rise. What can we do to help prevent it?

A: According to the American Cancer Society, each year around 65,000 Americans are diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Head and neck cancers often appear in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, salivary glands, thyroid glands, throat and larynx.

Smokers are at a higher risk for head and neck cancer. Those who use chewing tobacco and drink alcohol also have an increased risk for the disease. The best prevention for head and neck cancer is to quit smoking or chewing tobacco.

Additionally, rates of head and neck cancer have risen in part due to human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV causes normal cells in the back of the throat to turn abnormal, and in most cases, the body can fight off the infection. Symptoms for HPV-related throat cancer may include a persistent sore throat, hoarseness, enlarged lymph nodes and pain when swallowing, although many people are asymptomatic.

The HPV vaccine is available to those 11 to 45 years old and provides protection from infection and cancer later in life.

If you have questions or concerns about head and neck cancer, reach out to your healthcare provider for more information.

Dr. Reynolds