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Head and neck cancers are a broad category of cancers that occur anywhere in the region of face, sinonasal passages, throat and/or lymph nodes in the neck. Cancer can occur when abnormal cells grow, forming a mass called a tumor. Tumors can be non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant). Benign tumors do not have the potential to spread elsewhere in the body and are typically not life threatening, however cancerous tumors are. Cancer cells can break away from the original tumor and travel to other areas of the body, where they keep growing and go on to form new tumors. This is called metastasis.

Mucosal surfaces are moist tissues lining hollow organs and cavities of the body open to the environment. This is what lines our mouth, nose and throat. Normal mucosal cells look like scales (squamous) under the microscope. Cancers arising from these cells are called squamous cell carcinomas, which account for the majority of cancers in the head and neck region (90%). Some head and neck cancers begin in other types of cells. For example, cancers that begin in glandular cells are called adenocarcinomas.

Head and neck cancer and its treatment may affect some of the activities one completes everyday. These activities may include speaking, swallowing, hearing, and breathing.

Treatment depends on several factors. These include type, location and size of your cancer. Treatment for head and neck cancers often involves surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy alone or in combination depending on the size and location of your tumor.

If you would like more information about head and neck cancer, see the following links:

Head and Neck Cancer Types

Oral Cancer
(front part of mouth and lips and includes):
Tongue
Mandible (alveolar ridge)
Lip
Buccal Space
Floor of mouth
Hard Palate
Retromolar trigone
Oropharyngeal Cancer 
(back part of the mouth and includes):
Tonsils
Base of tongue (back part of tongue)
Soft palate
Lateral and posterior pharyngeal walls
Nasopharyngeal Cancer
Laryngeal Cancer
Hypopharyngeal Cancer
Salivary Gland cancer
Parotid gland
Submandibular gland
Minor salivary gland
Sinonasal Cancer
Skin Cancer
Squamous Cell
Basal Cell
Melanoma
Thyroid Cancer
Parathyroid Cancer

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