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Palliation of head and neck cancer 

Palliation of head and neck cancer
Chapter:
Palliation of head and neck cancer
Author(s):

Max Watson

, Rachel Campbell

, Nandini Vallath

, Stephen Ward

, and Jo Wells

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198745655.003.0014
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date: 22 August 2019

As a consequence of its location, head and neck cancer can affect breathing, speech, swallowing, and most of the special senses, and can impact massively on quality of life and body image. The head has a particularly complex anatomy in a very restricted space, and tumours have the potential to cause very complex and severe pain, often with a major neuropathic element. Disease in the mouth can lead to fistulae and aspiration pneumonia. Some tumours carry a risk of life-threatening bleeding. Management of all of these and other features of advanced head and neck cancer require skill and knowledge. Head and neck cancer, perhaps more than any other cancer, involves the total person, and requires a multidisciplinary response. This chapter summarizes the clinically important aspects of the main pathologies, and discusses a practical approach to symptom control of this difficult area.

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