Head & Neck Cancers
These cancers are often called squamous cell cancers (or squamous cell carcinomas). This is because they usually begin in the squamous cells that form the moist mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck, such as the mouth, throat and nose.
They often occur in the following areas of the head and neck:
- Oral Cavity: Includes the lips, parts of the tongue, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the bottom (floor) of the mouth under the tongue, the gums, and the bony top of the mouth (hard palate)
- Pharynx: A hollow tube about 5 inches long located behind the nose and leading to the esophagus (or "food tube")
- Larynx: The short passageway known as the "voice box" just below the pharynx in the neck
- Paranasal Sinuses (small hollow spaces in the bones of the head surrounding the nose) and nasal cavity (the hollow space inside the nose)
- Salivary Glands: The glands located on the floor of the mouth that produce saliva
Symptoms of head and neck cancer include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Sore throat that doesn't go away
- Hoarseness or a change in your voice
- A lump or sore in your throat that does not go away
Other less serious conditions can also cause these problems, so be sure to check with a doctor or dentist if you have any of these symptoms.