Head and neck cancer is the term given to cancers which develop above the collarbone. The most common sites for head and neck cancers are the oral cavity, throat, larynx, salivary glands, nose, and sinuses.
Oral Cavity: cancer of the oral cavity (the mouth and tongue) is the most common type of head and neck cancer. Most oral cancers arise in the tongue, the lip, the floor of the mouth, and the minor salivary glands.
Throat: nasopharyngeal cancer originates in the air pathway at the upper part of the throat behind the nose.
Laryngeal cancer: laryngeal cancer arises in the larynx, located at the top of the trachea and responsible for speech (commonly called the voice box), is the second most common type of head and neck cancer.
Salivary Gland: salivary cancer originates in the salivary glands which produce saliva containing enzymes to begin food breakdown and digestion.
Nose: nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer originates in the space just behind the nose where air passes on the way to the throat and the air-filled areas that surround the nasal cavity.
The most common type (about 90%) of malignant tumor of the head and neck area is squamous cell cancer. Squamous cells are flat cells typically found in the lining of the mouth, nose and throat. Melanomas on the inside of the nose and lymphomas in the neck region are also classified as head and neck cancers.