As compared to adults, tumors that affect the head and neck in children are rare. Broadly, they are of 2 types: benign and malignant. Benign tumors seen in children are vascular and lymphatic malformations (hemangiomas, lymphangiomas), neurogenic tumors and juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibromas (the child may present with nasal blockage and bleeding or epistaxis).
In addition, there can be a variety of congenital neck cysts which form due to embryological maldevelopment (branchial cysts, thyroglossal cysts).
Malignant tumors seen in childhood include lymphomas, rhabdomyosarcomas, and sarcomas.
The diagnosis of these tumors is based on clinical examination combined with radiological investigations (ultrasound, CT scan, fine needle exam).
Treatment depends on the type of the tumor. Hemangiomas are treated using a drug. Some hemangiomas in the larynx, in addition, may need to be treated by CO2 laser. Lymphangiomas need sclerotherapy, which injects special medications directly into the malformation to promote a reduction in its size. Nasopharyngeal angiofibromas are treated endoscopically or by an external operation. Benign neck cyts will need an external operation. Malignant tumors will require chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Treatment is tailor-made for each patient as per his needs.