neck and head cancer - 1257834

Thu, 07/11/2013 - 07:08

hey im tori i am 14 years old and i think i have neck and head cancer . ive been getting a giant lump under my skin but pushing out on my upper neck. when i move my neck it sends a sharp pain threw my body .is this a symptom

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catdander

Hi Tori,
It would be quite uncommon for a person of your age to develop this type of cancer though I'm not sure of just how rare it may be. I will ask a doctor to comment on you post.

As you mature you will start to note symptoms in your body. Most of which have many possible reasons for being there, most of which go away on their own, with treatment, or more careful care of your body.

Lymph nodes are all over your body including your neck, they swell when fighting infection then return to normal. This often happens without having any other symptoms. You could have a boil that is pressing on a nerve causing pain.

Most importantly, it's always a good idea to have a conversation with your doctor about symptoms that worry you.

All the best for a healthy tomorrow,
Janine
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dr. weiss

Cancer happens when a useful, healthy cell goes bad and transforms. In the case of what's typically called head and neck cancer, the cell that goes bad is a squamous cell. These are tough cube shaped cells that the body uses to protect things. When they go bad, they transform to squamous cell carcinoma. Squamous cell carcinoma is extraordinarily rare in someone 14 years of age. More typically, it occurs in older patients who have smoked for many years. More recently, there has been a scary trend of cancer in younger people. These cancers occur as a result of the HPV virus, which is typically caught through oral sex. While this cancer is affecting younger people, we’re taking 30s, not teens.

So, if your lump is unlikely to be head/neck cancer, what else could it be? Lets get the scariest things out of the way first—other cancers. The most common cancer to appear in a 14 year old is probably lymphoma, and most of these will be easily curable. The next most common cancer to appear in the neck of a 14 year old would be a sarcoma (bone, muscle or connective tissue cancer) although this would be much more rare. Fear of the possibility of cancer is a very good reason to see a doctor. He/she can examine the area, and, if indicated, get a biopsy to prove what it is. Given that the most likely thing on the scary list (lymphoma) is curable, it’s well worth the trip. And, if it’s nothing, you’d get reassurance and could stop worrying.

Perhaps much more importantly, most enlarged lymph nodes in a 14 year old aren’t cancer at all. The purpose of lymph nodes are to fight infection and they swell when they do this. That said, it’s still worth seeing the doctor as some of these infection get better faster when treated or absolutely require treatment.