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Head and neck cancer

Most head and neck cancers arise from the moist lining (mucosa) inside the mouth, nose, and throat. Nearly 54,000 cases of head and neck cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year. Types of head and neck cancer include: cancers of the oral cavity (lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, hard palate), pharynx (throat), larynx (voicebox), paranasal sinuses (nasal cavity), and salivary glands.

While most head and neck cancers are due to alcohol and tobacco use, the incidence of these cancers in people without these risk factors is rising, due to infection from the human papillomavirus (HPV).

With early detection, prognosis can be excellent. Symptoms may include a lump or a sore that does not heal, a persistent sore throat, swallowing difficulty and a change in or hoarseness of the voice. Other less serious conditions may cause these problems so it is important to check with a doctor if you have any of these symptoms.

Screening & treatment

Many types of head and neck cancers can be found early during a routine exam by a dentist or doctor, or by self-exam. Regular dentist appointments are important tools to screen for head and neck cancers. Learn more about the head and neck screening program at White Plains Hospital.

Treatment options for head and neck cancers may include: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and other targeted therapies. Treatments may be used alone or in combination depending on the type and stage of the cancer.

At White Plains Hospital Center for Cancer Care, we have a team of experts who can provide coordinated care for patients with all types of head and neck cancers. The Hospital also uses minimally invasive robotic surgery to treat many types of these cancers, including transoral robotic surgery (TORS) for throat cancer.