Types of Head and Neck Cancer

Below is a list of the types of cancer that are classified as head and neck cancer. Click the links below to learn more about each type.

Oral Cancer or Cancer of the Mouth

The oral cavity includes lips, tongue, gums, the lining inside the cheeks and lips, the floor of the mouth, the hard palate (bony top of the mouth), and the small area of the gum behind the wisdom teeth

Pharyngeal or Throat Cancer

The pharynx or throat is about five inches (12cm) long and starts behind the nose. It has three parts: the nasopharynx (upper part of the pharynx, behind the nose); the oropharynx (middle part of the pharynx, including the soft palate [the back of the mouth]), the base of the tongue, and the tonsils); the hypopharynx (lower part of the pharynx).

Laryngeal or “Voice Box” Cancer

The larynx, also called the voice box, formed by cartilage, is located just below the throat and contains the vocal cords. It also contains a small flap of tissue called the epiglottis, responsible for closing up the windpipe so that food doesn’t get aspirated or into your lungs.

Nasal and Paranasal Cancer

The paranasal sinuses are small hollow spaces in the bones of the head surrounding the nose, behind the cheeks, and behind the eye brows. The nasal cavity is the hollow space inside the nose.

Salivary Gland Cancer

The salivary glands are located in the floor of the mouth and near the jawbone and are responsible for producing saliva. The largest of these is the parotid gland located on either side of the head in front of the ears.