Head and neck cancer

Head and neck cancers generally start in the lining of the mouth, nose, throat, or voice box. Many different cancers can occur in the head and neck area. This area consists of many distinct parts such as organs, tissues, skin, bones, and glands

Head and neck cancers can develop in the mouth and lips, throat and voice box, nose, sinuses, thyroid and saliva glands. Most head and neck cancers start in the lining, called squamous epithelium. This lining covers the inside of the mouth, nose, throat, or voice box. These cancers start in the squamous cells of the epithelium (lining). We call them ‘squamous cell carcinomas.’

Cancer of the mouth can affect the lips, gums, tongue, buccal mucosa (lining of the mouth), and hard palate (roof of your mouth). Cancer of the throat can affect the oropharynx area (tonsils, base of tongue and/or soft palate at back of mouth), glottis (voice box), supraglottis (above the voice box), and hypopharynx (behind the voice box). Cancer of the nose can affect the sinuses (air spaces in the bones around the nose area of the face), the space behind your nose, and the nasopharynx.

Our head and neck experts also treat and manage cancers that arise in the parotid glands (major saliva glands on each side of the face), submandibular salivary glands (found beneath each side of the lower jaw), and the thyroid gland.