Neck and Head Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, And Types

Divya Tripathi

, Treatments

Head and neck cancer is a group of cancers that start near or in your throat, nose, voice box, sinuses, or mouth. Usually, it starts in the cells that line the surfaces of these body parts. Medically it is known as squamous cells. Neck and head cancers can also begin in the salivary glands, but it is are relatively uncommon. Salivary glands contain many various types of cells that can become cancerous.

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Cancer can begin any place in the body. Cancer that starts in the head and neck can have different names. It depends on where it starts. Any cancer starts when cells in part of the head or neck grow out of control and crowd out normal cells. This makes it hard for the body to work the way it should work.

What Are the Types of Neck And Head Cancer?

Basically, there are five main types of head and neck cancer. They’re named for the specific part of your neck or head they affect. The symptoms of these types are different from each other

Oral Cavity

This type of cancer affects inside of your mouth or your lips. This includes:

  • Gums
  • Insides of your cheeks
  • Under your tongue
  • The top of the inside of your mouth
  • The front two-thirds of your tongue

The symptoms of oral cancer are:

  • White or red patches in your mouth, including your tongue and gums.
  • Swelling in your jaw
  • Bleeding or pain in your mouth


The pharynx is another name for the throat. It’s a tube of around 5 inches long that goes from behind your nose to the top of your esophagus. It includes your tonsils, your soft palate, and the back of your tongue.

The symptoms of cancer of your pharynx are:

  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Painful swallowing
  • Neck or throat pain that doesn’t go away
  • Earaches, pain, or ringing in your ears that keeps coming back
  • Trouble hearing


The larynx is known as the voice box. It holds your vocal cords and epiglottis. It’s a small piece of flesh that dangle in the back of your throat.

Symptoms of larynx cancer include:

  • Painful swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Changes in your voice

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses

The nasal cavity is the space inside of the nose. The paranasal sinuses are small spaces in the bones of your head near the nose.

Symptoms of Nasal Cavity Cancer

  • Chronic sinus infections that not cured by an antibiotic.
  • Blocked sinuses you can’t clear
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Pain in your upper teeth
  • Problems with false teeth not fitting anymore

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Salivary Glands

Salivary glands make saliva. these are in the lower part of your mouth near your jawbone.

Symptoms of salivary gland cancer:

  • Swelling under your chin
  • Swelling around your jawbone
  • Numb or paralyzed face muscles

What are the Causes and Risks of Neck and Head Cancer?

The most common cause of head and neck cancers is tobacco. It includes chewing tobacco, using snuff, and smoking. Secondhand smoke like smoke from other people’s cigars, cigarettes or pipes) can lead the risk of getting neck and head cancer.

Drinking too much alcohol raises the risk, too. If you use tobacco and drink too much alcohol, then you are at the high risk.

Other things that raise your risk are:

  • Getting too much sun
  • Human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • Epstein-Barr virus, the virus that causes mononucleosis (mono)
  • Being older than 40
  • Not taking care of your mouth and teeth
  • Breathing in wood dust, paint, or other chemical fumes
  • Smoking Pot
  • Not getting enough vitamin A or B
  • Acid reflux
  • Having a weak immune system


Well, here we have discussed the different types of neck and head cancer along with its symptoms, causes, and its risks as well. It covers a group of your body part near your nose and mouth. So, if you find any of the above mention symptoms around your nose and mouth and does not cure in a certain amount of time then consult to your doctor as soon as possible and go for the proper checkup.

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