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Head and neck cancers are categorized by their area of origin within the head and neck region. Most head and neck cancers begin in the squamous cells that line the mucosal surfaces of the mouth, nose and throat.  

New research points to human papillomavirus (HPV) as an increasingly common risk factor for head and neck cancers. Other risk factors include tobacco and alcohol use, unprotected sun exposure and prior radiation.

Oral Cancer

Mouth cancer and tongue cancer are forms of oral cancer, which develops within the oral cavity and can include the lips, inner cheeks, teeth and gums. 

Salivary Gland Cancer

Cancer of the salivary glands is a rare disease in which malignant cells form in the tissues of the salivary glands, which are responsible for producing saliva to help the body break down food. 

Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is a general term encompassing several different cancers named according to their specific location within the throat.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Hypopharyngeal cancer forms in the hypopharynx, the lower part of the throat that surrounds the larynx.

Laryngeal Cancer

The larynx, also known as the voice box, is the part of the throat that houses the vocal cords, which are engaged during speech. Laryngealcancer occurs when malignant cells form in the tissue of the larynx. This is the most common form of head and neck cancer and often requires voice rehabilitation after treatment.    

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Nasopharyngeal cancer forms in the nasopharynx, the area at the back of the throat and behind the nose. Asian ancestry and exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) differentiate this throat cancer from others. 

Oropharyngeal Cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer originates in the oropharynx, the part of the throat just behind the mouth, including the back of the tongue, tonsils, soft palate and area behind the wisdom teeth. 

Thyroid Cancer

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the throat that is responsible for regulating hormones within the body. Thyroid cancer is an umbrella term that encompasses four main types of the disease: papillary thyroid cancer (the most common type), follicular thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid cancer and anaplastic thyroid cancer.