What is head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancers include cancers of the mouth and throat, nose and sinuses (air spaces in the bones of the face), salivary glands and ears. They are sometimes referred to according to the type of cell they start in.

Most head and neck cancers are ‘squamous cell cancers’ – these are types of skin cancer. These start in the cells lining the mouth, nose and throat.

You may be informed by your doctor that you have cancer in your lymph nodes. Cancer of the head and neck can sometimes spread to nearby lymph nodes. You can find out more about lymph node cancer on our information page.

In this section, you can read about the different types of cancer we treat.

Mouth cancer

Mouth cancer can develop on the lip, tongue, or anywhere inside the mouth.

Throat cancer

Throat cancer usually means the parts called the pharynx and the larynx.

Nasopharyngeal cancer

The nasopharynx is the upper part of the throat, behind the nose.

Nasal and sinus cancers

These are cancers in the inside of the nose or sinuses.

Salivary gland cancers

Cancer in the salivary gland is very rare.