Mr David Vokes - Otolaryngologist, Head & Neck Surgeon
Growths, lumps, tumours or masses on the head and neck can be benign (noncancerous) or cancerous and can form in the larynx, pharynx, thyroid gland, salivary gland, mouth, neck, face or skull.
Tests to diagnose a mass may include:
• Neurological examination – assesses eye movements, balance, hearing, sensation, coordination etc
• MRI – magnetic resonance imaging uses magnetic fields and radio waves to give images of internal organs and body structures
• CT Scan – computer tomography combines x-rays with computer technology to give cross-sectional images of the body
• Biopsy – a sample of tissue is taken for examination under a microscope.
Enlarged Lymph Nodes
Lymph nodes in the neck often become swollen when the body is fighting an infection.
Noncancerous masses such as cysts are often removed surgically to prevent them from pressing on nerves and other structures in the head and neck.
Cancerous masses spread to surrounding tissues and may be:
• Primary – they arise in the head or neck. Mostly caused by tobacco or alcohol use
• Secondary – they have spread from a primary tumour in another part of the body.
Cancers may be treated by a combination of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery.