Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is now known to cause some head and neck cancers, mainly in the tonsil and back of the tongue (tongue base).
A special tissue stain (called p16) is done on a small part of cancer tissue removed during a biopsy. This tests whether HPV could be the cause of your cancer.
Its important to know if your cancer is from HPV because those types of cancer respond well to specific treatment. It can help your doctor to choose the best treatment for you.
An ultrasound uses sound waves to take pictures inside the body. Your doctor may want you to have an ultrasound to take a picture of your neck and all the parts of it including your lymph nodes, thyroid and salivary glands.
During the test, gel will be spread on the skin and a small device called a probe will be moved over the area. The probe makes soundwaves that can be turned into a picture on a computer. Your doctor will look at the pictures for any signs of a lump that might need a biopsy.
Ultrasounds are painless and you can go home once the test is done. You dont need to do anything to get ready for a head and neck ultrasound. You can eat and drink as you would normally.
X-rays take pictures of solid structures in the body, like bones. The main reason you might need an X-ray is to get a detailed picture of your jaw and teeth (dental X-ray) which can be affected by radiation therapy.
An X-ray is quick and painless.
Audiometry (hearing test)
Sometimes radiotherapy and certain types of chemotherapy can affect your hearing. Your doctor may ask you to have a hearing test before and after your treatment to check for any hearing loss.
There are many different tests that can be used to check your hearing. They are called audiometry exams.
During these tests you will wear earphones attached to a machine called an audiometer. The test will play sounds at different volumes and pitches. You may also be tested to see if you can hear and understand conversations.
If the tests before and after your chemotherapy or radiotherapy show that your hearing has been affected, your doctor may recommend some treatments or follow-up care options.