Head and Neck Cancer

Cancers of the Head and Neck

Head and neck cancers arise from the cells that make up the face, mouth and throat. Because cancers in different locations behave differently, treatment depends on the cancer type and extent. Some common locations include:

  • Nasal cavity/paranasal sinuses
  • Nasopharynx
  • Oral cavity (lips, gums, floor of mouth, oral tongue, cheek mucosa, hard palate, retromolar trigone)
  • Oropharynx (base of tongue, tonsils, soft palate, oropharyngeal wall)
  • Larynx (vocal cords and supraglottic larynx)
  • Hypopharynx (pyriform sinuses, post-cricoid area, posterior pharyngeal wall)
  • Salivary glands (parotid, submandibular, sublingual and minor salivary glands)
  • Thyroid

This year, about 62,000 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx and thyroid. Rates of head and neck cancer are nearly twice as high in men and are greatest in men over age 50.

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