Head and Neck Cancer

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Overview

Head and neck cancers are cancers that start in the tissues and organs of the head and neck. They include cancers of the larynx (voice box), throat, lips, mouth, nose, and salivary glands.

Most types of head and neck cancer begin in squamous cells that line the moist surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, the mouth, nose, and throat).

Tobacco use, heavy alcohol use, and infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) increase the risk of many types of head and neck cancer.

To get the right information about treatment and prognosis, you need to know exactly what type of head and neck cancer you have and what stage it is.

The Head and Neck Cancers fact sheet has additional basic information.  

Areas where head and neck cancer may occur.