Head and Neck Cancer Care
What Is Head and Neck Cancer?
About 90% of head and neck cancers come from squamous cells, which are cells that line many structures of the body.
Cancer can occur in the:
- Salivary glands
Types of head and neck cancers we treat
- Throat cancers, such as hypopharyngeal, laryngeal, nasopharyngeal, and metastatic squamous neck cancer.
- Oral and Oropharyngeal cancers, such as oral cavity and salivary gland cancer.
- Nose and sinus cancer, including paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer.
- Recurring (metastatic) head and neck cancer, which is cancer that returned in the head and neck or spread throughout the body.
- Thyroid Cancer.
What Causes Head and Neck Cancer?
Exposure to toxins — such as tobacco and alcohol — is the main cause of most head and neck cancers.
HPV can also cause head and neck cancer.
What Are the Risks for Head and Neck Cancer?
Certain risk factors increase a person's chance of getting head and neck cancer, such as:
- Smoking or chewing tobacco.
- Drinking too much alcohol.
- Age — Most head and neck cancers affect people 50 and older.
- Gender — Men are at more risk than women.
- Radiation exposure as a child.
- HPV puts you at a higher risk for head and neck cancer.
- Poor dental hygiene means you may need more frequent screenings for head and neck cancer.
- A diet low in vitamins A and B can increase your risk for head and neck cancer.
People can change their habits to lower some of the risk factors.
How Do You Treat Head and Neck Cancer at UPMC Hillman?
Head and neck cancers affect the way we breathe, speak, swallow, and look. The location of these cancers — in the throat, mouth, nose, and sinuses — requires careful and precise treatment.
To achieve the best results, our experts offer state-of-the-art head and neck cancer surgery and care, including:
- Advanced minimally invasive surgical techniques.
- The latest robotic surgery technology, making it easier to operate in the head and neck areas.
- Up-to-date reconstructive techniques to restore your quality of life.
- A mix of chemo, radiation, and surgery to augment your treatment.
- Mental, social, and emotional support for you and your family during treatment and recovery.
Why Choose UPMC Hillman Cancer Center for Your Head and Neck Cancer Care?
We're the only comprehensive cancer center designated by the National Cancer Institute in the southwest and central Pa. regions. This means you have access to clinical trials for head and neck cancer treatments that you might not find elsewhere.
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center has more than 70 locations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, and western New York.
UPMC Head & Neck Cancer Survivorship Clinic
Head and neck cancers, even if cured, can leave lasting and severe complications. The UPMC Head and Neck Cancer Survivorship Clinic helps prepare patients for these potential issues before treatment and works with them post-treatment to manage the side effects.
Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms and Diagnosis
People with head and neck cancer might not experience many symptoms at first, but as the cancer grows symptoms may occur. There are various risk factors that increase a person’s chance of getting cancer.
Learn more about symptoms and diagnosis.
Head and Neck Cancer Treatment Program
UPMC Hillman Cancer Center employs a multidisciplinary approach to treating head and neck cancers to provide a complete continuum of care.
Learn more about our treatment program.