Head and Neck Cancer Awareness

Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness Week is April 20-26, 2014

Cancers of the head and neck include cancers of the oral cavity, larynx (voice box), pharynx, salivary glands, and nose/nasal passages.

Norman Hogikyan, M.D., F.A.C.S., Professor, Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery describes the symptoms and risk factors associated with throat cancer, including cancer of the larynx.

Cancers that are known collectively as head and neck cancers usually begin in the squamous cells that line the moist, mucosal surfaces inside the head and neck (for example, inside the mouth, the nose, and the throat). These squamous cell cancers are often referred to as squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. Head and neck cancers can also begin in the salivary glands, but salivary gland cancers are relatively uncommon. Salivary glands contain many different types of cells that can become cancerous, so there are many different types of salivary gland cancer.

Source: Oral, Head and Neck Cancer Awareness page, part of the Head and Neck Cancer Alliance website.

Did you know?

  • More than 40,250 men and women in this country are expected to be diagnosed with head and neck cancers in 2014.
  • Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3% of all cancers in the United States.
  • Early detection and treatment are the keys to preventing these cancers.
  • People who use both tobacco and alcohol are at greater risk for developing these cancers than people who use either tobacco or alcohol alone.
  • HPV (Human papillomavirus infection) is now accepted as a risk factor for the development of squamous cancers of the oropharynx. The Food and Drug Administration has approved two vaccines to prevent HPV infection: Gardasil® and Cervarix®. Both vaccines are highly effective in preventing infections with HPV types 16 and 18. HPV type 16 is an increasing cause of oropharyngeal cancer, a type of head and neck cancer.

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