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Types of Head and Neck Cancer

There are various types of head and neck cancers and they are characterized by the type of cancer they are and also the location within the head and neck where they start. Locations that the cancer can start include:

Mouth (Oral Cavity)

  • Oral cavity cancers — can affect the lips, gums, tongue, cheek linings, floor of the mouth, or roof of the mouth.

Throat (Oropharynx, Larynx, and Hypopharynx)

  • Hypopharyngeal cancer — Your hypopharynx is behind your larynx, or voice box, and is the part of the throat that connects your mouth to your esophagus.
  • Laryngeal cancer — affects the voice box, the part of the throat between the back of the tongue and the windpipe. This part of the throat contains the vocal cords.
  • Oropharyngeal cancer — forms in the middle of the throat. It includes the back of the tongue, throat lining , tonsils, and parts of the back of the roof of the mouth (soft palate).

Nose and Sinus

  • Nasopharyngeal cancer — located behind the nose, at the back of the nasal cavity. It forms the upper part of the pharynx, a tube that runs from the back of your nose and connects to your throat.  
  • Paranasal sinus and nasal cavity cancer — affects the four groups of hollow spaces (paranasal sinuses) in the bones near the nose. The nose leads to the nasal cavity, which sits in front of the nasopharynx

Salivary Glands

  • Salivary gland cancer — a rare cancer. It forms in the glands in front of and below the ears, under the tongue, and below the jaw. There are two of each of these glands, but cancer often affects only one

Thyroid Gland

  • Thyroid cancer — affects the thyroid gland which is located in the neck. 

Why Choose UPMC for Head and Neck Cancer Treatment?

At UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, we offer expert care for all types of head and neck cancers with a multidisciplinary team of experts including:

  • Head and neck surgeons
  • Medical and radiation oncologists
  • Speech pathologists
  • Nurses

We are a trusted national and international leader in head and neck cancer care, providing proven and cutting-edge services to each person we see, and conducting research to constantly improve the care we deliver.

More information on the head and neck cancer program team.

Contact Us

To make an appointment for head and neck cancer care at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, call 412-647-2811.