Head and neck cancer are a group of cancers that starts in the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands which are one area that are relatively uncommon.
Cancers of the head and neck are further categorized by the area of the head or neck in which they begin:
- Oral Cavity: lips, tongue, gums, lining of the cheeks, top or bottom of the mouth
- Pharynx: also known as the throat
- Larynx: also called the “voice box”
- Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity
- Salivary glands
More than 53,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with head and neck cancer in 2019.
The majority of head and neck cancer patients are over the age of 50. Men are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than women. More than twice as many men than women have head and neck cancer.
Alcohol and tobacco use (including smokeless tobacco, sometimes called “chewing tobacco” or “snuff”) are the two most important risk factors for head and neck cancers. At least 75 percent of head and neck cancers are caused by the combined use of tobacco and alcohol.
Some common head and neck cancer symptoms include:
• A lump in the nose, neck or throat, with or without pain
• A persistent sore throat
• Frequent coughing
• Change in voice or hoarseness
• Ear pain or trouble hearing
• A red or white patch in the mouth
• Bad breath that’s unexplained by hygiene
• Nasal obstruction or persistent congestion
• Frequent nose bleeds or unusual discharge
• Trouble breathing
• Trouble Swallowing
• Unexplained Weight Loss
Treatment for head and neck cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments.