Cancer Types

Head and Neck Cancers

What are head and neck cancers?

A large set of cancers that originate in the oral cavity, nasal cavity, nasopharynx, throat (oropharynx, hypopharynx, larynx), and other nearby regions in the upper body are clubbed together as head and neck cancers. They are classified in the same category because diagnosis, staging and treatment of many of these cancers are similar in nature, with few exceptions.


Graphic representation of throat anatomy

According to the primary site of origin, head and neck cancers are further classified into the following categories:

What types of treatment are used for head and neck cancer patients?

The main treatment modalities used in head and neck cancers are surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, in one or more combinations. This is known as multi-modality treatment. Many head and neck cancer patients experience post-treatment side effects (both short and long term) such as dryness of mouth, difficulty in swallowing or eating, difficulty in opening mouth, problems in chewing (dental problems and decreased salivary output), change in voice and hearing loss (transient).