A cancer diagnosis of any type may be difficult for patients to accept and manage. We are proud to offer the expertise of Dr. Clinton Kuwada, Co-Director of Hartford Hospital’s Head & Neck Cancer Multidisciplinary Team. Dr. Kuwada is one of few physicians in the state of Connecticut who is fellowship trained in Head & Neck Surgery, Microvascular Reconstructive Surgery and Robotic Surgery. Dr. Kuwada treats all Head & Neck Cancers including cancers of the throat, thyroid, oral cavity, salivary gland, nasopharyngeal and sinus.
Cancer of the throat is a general term that refers to cancerous tumors located in the pharynx (which can include the base of tongue, the tonsils, entrance to the esophagus, or the soft palate) or the larynx (voice box). Technically, throat cancer develops when cells in the throat go through genetic mutations, which cause them to grow uncontrollably. While the exact cause isn't known, certain factors increase your risk of developing throat cancer. Risk factors include tobacco use, alcohol use, and human papillomavirus (HPV). Signs of throat cancer include voice changes, hoarseness, a cough, a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, painful swallowing, an ulcer or lump that doesn't go away, ear pain, and weight loss.
Cancer of the thyroid gland typically has an excellent prognosis. Thyroid cancer can be asymptomatic, but frequent symptoms include an enlarging neck mass, difficulty swallowing, and hoarseness.
Oral cavity cancer is cancer that grows in the mouth and is the most common site of Head & Neck cancer. It is characterized by a sore or sores in the mouth that do not heal, pain, lumps in the cheeks or a thickening of the tissue, white and/or red patches inside the mouth, on the gums or on the tongue, a persistent, untreatable sore throat, chewing and swallowing problems, numbness in the mouth or tongue, lumps in the neck and swelling in the mouth and/or neck.
Nasopharyngeal cancer starts in the nasopharynx, which is located at the very back of the throat, just above the top of the mouth and at the base of the skull.
Symptoms may include headaches, hoarseness, lumps in the nose or throat, nosebleeds, facial pain or numbness, sudden hearing loss or sudden vision changes.
Salivary gland cancer starts inside the salivary glands, including the parotid and submandibular gland, which are primarily located behind and under the jaw and in front of the ear. Additional salivary glands located in the lips, cheeks and throat, can become cancerous as well.
Salivary gland cancer is fairly rare as most salivary gland tumors are not cancerous. Symptoms may include facial numbness, localized pain, difficulty opening the mouth and swallowing, and swelling in the neck, jaw or face.
Oropharyngeal cancer involves cancer of the tonsils and base of tongue. Oropharyngeal cancer is on the rise in the Unites States and has a strong association with the human papilloma virus or HPV. It is typically characterized by a persistent sore throat, ear pain, painful swallowing or a lump in the neck.
If you are experiencing symptoms of head & neck cancer and would like to discuss your treatment options with Dr. Kuwada, please call (860) 493-1950 or visit our patient portal to request an appointment.