The term Head and Neck Cancer describes a wide range of malignancies that arise from the lining of the upper aerodigestive tract as well as the skin and lymphatic system of the head and neck region.
Smoking and excessive alcohol drinking are well known risk factors for Head and Neck Cancer. However a lot of research over the past decade has strongly implicated Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) as a major cause of Oropharyngeal (tonsil and tongue base) cancer.
The term field cancerisation refers to the wide spread genetic changes that occur within the cells lining the mouth and throat that result from continued carcinogen exposure. This results in molecular changes which eventually leads to cancer formation.
Dr Bova spent a year studying the molecular biology of Head and Neck Cancer at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and his important findings were published in the prestigious scientific journal, Clinical Cancer Research. Dr Bova was awarded a higher degree for this important research, and more importantly it has provided him with a unique understanding of the molecular basis of head and neck cancer throughout his years in clinical practice.
The major Head and Neck Cancer sub sites include:
- Oral Cavity Lesions/Tumours
Link – www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/lip-and-oral-cavity/patient
- Oropharyngeal Tumours (Tonsil and Tongue based)
Link – www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/oropharyngeal/patient/
- Larynx Tumours including vocal cords
Link – www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/laryngeal/patient
- Hypopharynx Tumours
Link – www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/hypopharyngeal/patient
- Metastatic Melanoma
- Metastatic Skin Cancer
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment
Treatment decisions in Head and Neck Cancer are often complex and require input from multiple specialists. It is very important that patients with head and neck cancer are managed by experienced ENT, Head and Neck Surgeons who have the necessary expertise to investigate and treat these often complex tumours. Dr Bova is a senior member of the Multi-disciplinary Head and Neck Oncology Clinic which is held weekly in the Kinghorn Cancer Center at St Vincent’s Hospital.
Please see Dr Bova’s article, published in Medicine Today, a comprehensive update on Head and Neck Cancer for further information.