Eye, Ear, Nose & Throat Blog

Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness

Posted: The most common type of head and neck cancer is squamous cell carcinoma. Symptoms of head and neck cancer include: a painless mass in the mouth, throat or neck; hoarse voice; difficulty swallowing; painful swallowing; coughing up blood; unintended weight loss; ear pain; ear pressure, hearing loss (due to middle ear fluid); and trouble breathing through the nose. Head and neck cancer is more common among tobacco users, especially those who smoke. Use of alcohol with smoking potentiates this risk. Although smoking is on the decline in the U.S., the incidence of one type of head and neck cancer—oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma—has increased due to the human papilloma virus (HPV). This virus is ubiquitous. There are 150 types of HPV which cause warts on the finger, genital warts, etc. The most aggressive types of HPV are associated with cervical cancer and head and neck cancer, especially in the oropharynx (the tonsils, base of tongue). Historically, head and neck cancer was most commonly diagnosed among older, smoking patients. HPV-related head and neck cancer has now shifted this trend. We are now seeing an increasing number of younger head and neck cancer victims who do not smoke.

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Managing Spring Allergies

Posted: Tree pollen is the first class of environmental allergen which make an appearance during the spring season in the Triangle. Raleigh is the “City of Oaks” and the rest of the Triangle certainly has its share of oak trees. Yellow pine tree pollen is a reliable marker for the onset of spring allergy season as it blankets homes, cars and streets for several weeks. Ironically, sensitivity to this yellow pine pollen is uncommon because it so heavy that it is not significantly aerosolized, i.e. there is little pine pollen “in the air.” The most potent spring allergens are the lightweight, aerosolized allergens such as oak, cedar and especially grass pollens.

Perennial (year-round) allergens, e.g. house dust mite, also play a role during this time.

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Blue Light and Your Eyes

Posted: Are your eyes tired at the end of the day? Are you having trouble sleeping at night? These may be signs of Blue Light exposure. We all know the affects of UV light and how to protect ourselves from it with things like sunscreen and sunglasses. Blue Light can also have affects on our bodies.

What is blue light?

Blue light is part of the visible light spectrum. Without getting into complicated physics, there is an inverse relationship between the wavelength of light rays and the amount of energy they contain. Light rays that have relatively long wavelengths contain less energy, and those with short wavelengths have more energy. Blue light has a very short wavelength, and so produces a higher amount of energy.

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When Picky Eating is More Than Being Picky

Posted: She’s just a picky eater,” or “He’ll eat if he’s hungry.” Family members, friends and even doctors have the best of intentions when trying to shrug off restricted diets as a normal stage in child development. In truth, sometimes food refusals are normal, but often there is a deeper cause for a selective diet.

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