Head and neck cancer

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(Redirected from Head & neck cancers)

Head and neck cancers are malignant growths located in the oral cavity (mouth), nasal cavity, pharynx, larynx, thyroid, paranasal sinuses, salivary glands and lymph nodes of the upper neck. Head and neck cancers are generally squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they originated from the squamous cells that line the upper digestive tract; however, adenocarcinomas are most often found in the salivary glands.

The term throat cancer is sometimes used as a layman's term for a cancer of the larynx or pharynx, a cancer that has metastasized to the lymph nodes of the neck, or even esophageal cancer. Cancer of the trachea is a rare cancer that may also be considered throat cancer.

Laryngeal cancer begins in the larynx, the part of the throat that contains the vocal cords and is used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Oropharyngeal cancer begins in the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat that includes the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils. Nasopharyngeal cancer begins in the nasopharynx, the upper part of the throat behind the nose. Hypopharyngeal cancer begins in the hypopharynx, the bottom part of the throat that connects to the esophagus.

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