Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Head and neck cancer information

What is head and neck cancer?

Head and neck cancer is an umbrella term that refers to cancer that begins in the head or neck region of the body. The types of head and neck cancer are named after the area in which they originate, such as oral cancer, which forms in the oral cavity, and throat cancer, which develops in the throat.

Because most head and neck cancers form in the surface layer of the tissue, where the cells are flat and squamous, most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas.

Head and neck cancers account for about 3 percent of all cancers in the United States. The majority of head and neck cancer patients are over the age of 50. Men are two to three times more likely to develop the disease than women.

Head and neck cancer incidence

Approximately 48,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with head and neck cancers in 2017. More than twice as many men than women have head and neck cancer. As a group, these malignancies (including cancers of the mouth) account for about 3 percent of all cancers in the United States, according to the National Cancer Institute. About 10,000 people are expected to die from head and neck cancer in 2017. Fortunately, the number of people with head and neck cancer and mortality associated with this disease has been decreasing over the past 20 years.

Top questions about head and neck cancer

Learn the answers to patients' top questions about head and neck cancer.

Types of head and neck cancer

Learn about different types of head and neck cancer.

Head and neck cancer symptoms

Read about common head and neck cancer symptoms.

Head and neck cancer risk factors

Read about common risk factors for head and neck cancer.

Stages of head and neck cancer

Learn about the stages of head and neck cancer.

We're here to guide you through the cancer journey

We understand you may be feeling overwhelmed with questions and concerns about your type of cancer and what it all means. We're here to help guide you through the process.

Our hospital
Explore our cancer hospitals, which house the latest treatments, technologies and supportive care services under one roof.
Patient centered
Discover our patient-centered approach, and how you get all your questions answered in a single visit by a dedicated team of cancer experts.
Contact us
Discuss treatment options with an Oncology Information Specialist, who is available 24/7 at (888) 552-6760, or chat with us.