Head & Neck Cancer

Table of Contents

Head and neck cancers (HNC) include cancers of the oral cavity (including lip cancer and tongue cancer), larynx (laryngeal cancer), pharynx (pharyngeal cancer), hypopharynx (hypopharyngeal cancer), nasal cavity (including nasopharyngeal cancer), salivary glands, and sinuses (paranasal sinus cancer).

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Types of Head and Neck Cancer

The hypopharynx is the part of the throat (pharynx) that lies beside and behind the larynx. The hypopharynx is the entrance to the esophagus. Food goes from the mouth and through the hypopharynx and esophagus, where it then passes into the stomach. The structure of the hypopharynx makes sure that food goes around the larynx and into the esophagus.

Learn More About Hypopharyngeal Cancer

The larynx (voice box) is located just below the pharynx (throat) in the neck. The larynx contains the vocal cords, which vibrate and make sound when air is directed against them. The sound echoes through the pharynx, mouth, and nose to make a person's voice.

Learn More About Laryngeal Cancer

The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat (pharynx) that lies behind the nose. It is a box-like chamber about one and a half inches on each edge. It lies just above the soft part of the roof of the mouth (soft palate) and just in back of the entrance into the nasal passages.

Learn More About Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer develops in oropharynx, the part of the throat just behind the mouth and begins where the oral cavity ends. It is also called throat cancer. It includes the base of the tongue (back third of the tongue), the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth), the tonsils, and the side and back wall of the throat.

Learn More About Oropharyngeal Cancer

The oral cavity helps you to breathe, talk, eat, chew, and swallow. Minor salivary glands located throughout the oropharynx make saliva that keeps your mouth moist and helps you digest food. And, it is composed of several types of body tissues, which are made up of several types of cells.

Oral cavity cancer starts and develops in the mouth.

Learn More About Oral & Lip Cancer

The nasal cavity is the space just behind the nose where air passes on its way to the throat. The paranasal sinuses are air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.

Learn More About Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer

Salivary glands make saliva, the fluid that moistens the mouth and throat. There are major and minor salivary glands.

Learn More About Salivary Gland Cancer

Duration: 13 min

Quick Guide to Head & Neck Cancer

The Quick Guide to Head and Neck Cancer explains what head and neck cancer is, the five main types of head and neck cancer, and their risk factors. It also explains how head and neck cancer is diagnosed, who should be on your health care team, why…

Survivor Stories: Living with Head and Neck Cancer

Duration: 4 min

Christy's Story of Living with Head and Neck Cancer

Christy, a survivor living with head and neck cancer, shares her cancer story.

With all of this, I would say I'm a better person afterward. You don't sweat the small stuff as much.

Christy Diagnosed with head and neck cancer
Duration: 10 min

Terry's Story of Living with Head and Neck Cancer

Terry, a head and neck cancer survivor, shares his story.

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Eating Well with Head & Neck Cancer

A healthy diet is an important part of a head and neck cancer patient’s journey before, during, and after treatment.

Establish a Healthy Diet
Watch Duration: 97 min

Eating Well With Head and Neck Cancer

Watch this webinar about eating well with head and neck cancer. Guest speakers Jessica Iannotta, Dave and Thea Roff, and Amanda Hollinger discuss the following topics: benefits of nutrition for HNC patients, nutritional impact of HNC treatments, importance of the oncology dietitian and health care team, and tips to manage common nutrition-related side effects and optimize nutrition during and after treatment.

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