All About Head & Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer facts:

  • This year, more than 50,000 people in the United States will be diagnosed with head and neck cancers, which account for 5 percent of all cancers diagnosed in men in this country and about 2 percent of cancer diagnoses for women.
  • Men over the age of 40 are at the greatest risk of developing head and neck cancers.
  • If detected early, head and neck cancers are highly treatable and the cure rate is good. (Cancer of the larynx generally is diagnosed early because the symptoms manifest themselves early.)

The most common sites for head and neck cancers are the oral cavity, pharynx, mouth and tongue. Head and neck cancers occur above the collarbone.

The most common type of malignant tumor of the head and neck area is squamous cell cancer. Squamous cell cancer (also known as squamous cell carcinoma or SCCA) begins as a malignancy in the squamous cells. Squamous cells are flat, scale-like cells typically found in the lining of the mouth, nose and throat.

Although 90 percent of head and neck cancers are classified as squamous cell carcinoma (SCCA), SCCA is not the only type of malignancy found in the head and neck region. Melanomas on the inside of the nose and various types of lymphomas in the neck are classified as head and neck cancers, too. Tumors of the brain, however, are not.

These pages contain important information about head and neck cancers, including how they develop, what the risk factors are, how they're treated, and more. Head and neck cancers typically are categorized as one of several types.

Please use the following links to access comprehensive head and neck cancer information provided by the National Cancer Institute from its PDQ® Database.

Learn more about laryngeal cancer...


Learn more about lip and oral cavity cancer...


Learn more about oropharyngeal cancer...

Learn more about thyroid cancer...

The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) 460 W. 10th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210 Phone: 1-800-293-5066 | Email: