Head & neck cancers include different types of cancer that develop in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, salivary glands, throat, larynx (voice box) or thyroid. They also include skin cancers occurring in the head & neck area. Together these account for more than 5 percent of all cancers diagnosed across the U.S. — a total of more than 100,000 new cases every year.
The vast majority of head & neck cancers — more than 90 percent — are squamous cell carcinoma, a type of cancer that begins in the soft, moist tissue inside the mouth and other areas of the body. Most of these cancers are caused by smoking or chewing tobacco, and/or heavy drinking.
An increasing numbers of throat (oropharyngeal) cancers have been linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Most head and neck cancers can be treated successfully, especially if diagnosed at an early stage.
- Oral cavity (tongue, mouth) and lip cancer
- Pharyngeal cancer (throat cancer)
- Laryngeal cancer (voice box cancer)
- Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer
- Salivary gland cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Skin cancers of the face, scalp and neck
Head & Neck Cancer Info Sheet
What you need to know about cancers of the head and neck.Learn More