About Head and Neck Cancer

By on June 4, 2013

Cancers that are collectively known as head and neck cancers generally begin in squamous cells, which line the moisture, mucosal surfaces within the neck and head.

Head and neck cancers may also begin in salivary glands, but cancers that occur in salivary glands are very rare.

Head and neck cancer can be further categorized by the place of neck or head in which they begin.

Salivary Glands: Salivary glands produce saliva, this fluid keeps the mucosal surface in our throat and mouth as moist.

There are so many salivary glands, and the major one resides in the mouth floor, near to jawbone.

Head and Neck CancerOral Cavity: Oral cavity include front 2/3rdof tongue, gums, buccal mucosa, floor of the mouth, under tongue, the lips, and a small area behind wisdom teeth.

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses: Paranasal sinuses are tiny hollow spaces in the head bones surrounding nose. Nasal cavity is hollow space within the nose.

Larynx: This is also known as Voice Box. This is a small passageway formed with cartilage just beneath the pharynx in neck. It contains vocal cords.

Pharynx: This is a small 5 inches hallow tube, which starts behind nose and leads to trachea and esophagus.

Causes for head and neck cancer:

Tobacco and alcohol use are the 2 main risk factors for neck and head cancer, specifically cancers of larynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, and oral cavity.

Other risk factors for head and neck cancer include: Consumptions of meat, salted or preserved foods, poor oral health, ancestry, radiation exposure, and occupational exposure.


The symptoms for neck and head cancer include a sore throat or a lump, which may not heal, difficulty in consuming foods. These symptoms may also caused by some other conditions, so it is important to check with the dentist or a doctor about these symptoms.

Symptoms that affect the areas of neck and head include: Oral cavity, larynx, nasal cavity, and pharynx.


In order to find the main cause of signs and symptoms of your problem in the head and neck, your dentist or doctor evaluates your medical history, and performs diagnostic tests. These tests and exams may vary based on the signs and symptoms.

The doctor will learn the disease stage if it confirms as cancer. Staging is an important attempt in order to find whether your disease has speeded or not. Staging involve x-ray, laboratory tests, and other imaging procedures. Know the disease stage as it can be helpful in determining the treatment plan.


Treatment plan may depend on several factors, including the location of cancer tumor, cancer stage, person’s general health and age. Treatment for head and neck cancer include radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, or even combination of several treatments.

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