Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary

Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary

Squamous cells line the outside of many body organs, including the mouth, nose, skin, throat, and lungs. Cancer can begin in the squamous cells and spread (metastasize) from its original site to the lymph nodes in the neck or around the collarbone. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped structures that are found throughout the body. They produce and store infection-fighting cells.

When the lymph nodes in the neck are found to contain squamous cell cancer, a doctor will try to find out where the cancer started (the primary tumor). If the doctor cannot find a primary tumor, the cancer is called a metastatic cancer with unseen (occult) primary.

Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer

A doctor should be seen if there is a lump or pain in the neck or a sore throat that doesn’t go away. If tissue that is not normal is found, the doctor will need to cut out a small piece and look at it under the microscope to see if there are any cancer cells. If the biopsy shows that a person has squamous cell cancer, the doctor will do many kinds of tests to see whether a primary site can be found. If the primary site cannot be found, the doctor will treat the cancer in the neck.

The chance of recovery (prognosis) depends on how many lymph nodes contain cancer, where the cancer is found in the neck, whether or not a primary tumor is found, and the patients general state of health.

Stages of Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary

Once metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary is found, more tests will be done to find out how far the cancer cells have spread. This is called staging. A doctor needs to know the stage of the disease to plan treatment. The following stages are used for metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary:

Untreated

Untreated metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary means no treatment has been given for the cancer except to treat symptoms.

Treatment for untreated metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary

Treatment SHOULD NOT be one of the following:

  • Surgery to remove the lymph nodes in the neck (lymph node dissection)
  • Radiation therapy
  • Radiation therapy plus surgery
  • A clinical trial that includes chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or surgery

Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer2

Recurrent

Recurrent disease means that the cancer has come back (recurred) after it has been treated. It may come back in the neck or in another part of the body.

Treatment for recurrent metastatic squamous neck cancer with occult primary

Treatment depends on the type of treatment the patient had before, where the cancer came back, and the patient’s health.

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