What makes metastatic squamous cell neck cancer different from other head and neck cancers?

By: Dr. Thomas Incledon

What makes metastatic squamous cell neck cancer different from other head and neck cancers?

Most head and neck cancers originate in the area of the body for which they are named. Throat cancer, tongue cancer, salivary gland cancer, and nasal cancer are all examples of these types of head and neck cancers. However, with metastatic squamous cell neck cancer, the cancer develops in another part of the body and spreads to the neck and collarbone via the lymph nodes. Squamous cells are found inside tissues that line various body cavities like the mouth and inside of the nose, as well as organs like the uterus or blood vessels.

Since these cells are located throughout the body, a primary tumor (origination point of the cancer) could be anywhere in the body. Finding the primary tumor can help doctors determine the best treatment options. In many cases, though, the primary tumor cannot be located; this is called metastatic squamous cell neck cancer with occult primary.

Because the origination of metastatic squamous cell neck cancer occurs elsewhere, it is difficult for researchers and doctors to understand common risk factors for the disease. Primary symptoms include a lump or ongoing pain in the throat or neck. “This disease is another reminder of why it is so important for people to be aware of and proactive regarding their overall health,” says Dr. Tom Incledon, founder & CEO of Causenta. “Good habits – not smoking, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet of colorful fruits and vegetables – these things can help prevent metastatic squamous cell neck cancer and other ailments.”

If you seek medical attention because of a concern in your neck, your physician will conduct tests to give you a proper diagnosis. These will examine the tissues of the neck, respiratory tract, and upper part of the digestive tract. Checking for metastatic squamous cell neck cancer will likely include a physical exam, discussing your health history, and a biopsy. A biopsy is a procedure that removes cells from the body for further examination. Doctors may also use other diagnostic tools such as MRI and CT scans to get a clearer understanding of your case.

Once a patient is diagnosed with metastatic squamous cell neck cancer, treatment options vary based on two main factors: how progressed is the disease and was the primary tumor found. Based on this information, doctors may recommend surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. If the cancer is limited to a few lymph nodes, removing them may be a successful strategy; however, for patients with many lymph nodes affected, this is likely not the best treatment option.

The team at Causenta works together to determine appropriate strategies for each metastatic squamous cell neck cancer patient we treat. “Our nutritionists work with our medical oncologists who work with our physical therapists and so on to be sure that we are fighting cancer in multiple ways at one time,” says Incledon. “We know this is the best way to help our patients beat metastatic squamous cell neck cancer and get back to their lives.”

For more information on metastatic squamous cell neck cancer treatment and holistic cancer care with Causenta, schedule your complimentary 30-minute consultation today.

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