Head and neck cancer

Effects of spread of cancer in the neck

Local spread

Can compress the air and the food passages causing:

-  Hoarseness

-  Stridor

-  Dysphagia

-  Vascular compression

-  Nerve palsies

-  Ulceration, e. g. skin, mouth etc.

Distant metastases

Distant metastases are a very late feature of head and neck cancer

Figure 30.1

Effects of spread of cancer in the neck

Tracheostomy tube

Figure 30.2 Lung metastasis

Chest X-ray showing multiple lung metastasis arising from head and neck cancer (some are highlighted with white arrows). Also note tracheostomy tube in situ visible on X-ray

Speech valve in-situ

Figure 30.3

Post-laryngectomy patient

The patient breathes through a stoma (hole) in the neck. Note ‘speech valve’ present to help with voice rehabilitation in the absence of a larynx (voice box)

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