What is head and neck cancer?
Head and neck cancer is a general term used by doctors. It describes the diverse group of malignant tumors that can occur in the head and neck region. Examples include:
- Laryngeal cancer
- Mouth cancer
- Nasal cavity and sinus cancer
- Ssalivary gland cancer
- Skin cancer
- Throat cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Tongue cancer
Benign (noncancerous) growths can also form in the head and neck region. Examples include parathyroid tumors as well as tumors in the salivary glands.
Treatment for Head and Neck Cancer
The typical treatment for head and neck cancer is surgery. Some tumors can be removed with minimally invasively procedures. These include laser microsurgery, robotic approaches, and Mohs surgery.
Other times, head and neck cancer operations can be very complex. They require careful preparation and planning. MSK’s surgeons may use specialized techniques to preserve your appearance and key functions, such as speech and swallowing. That’s why head and neck cancer is best treated by doctors who are board certified in head and neck surgery and have extensive experience treating cancer.
Radiation to the head and neck can cure many people with the disease. Radiation oncologists use many highly advanced technologies to treat head and neck cancer.
Among the most effective treatments for head and neck cancer are intensity-modulated radiation therapy and proton therapy. These specialized approaches can help prevent side effects, including those that affect your ability to eat or swallow.
Immunotherapy for Head and Neck Cancer
Immunotherapy is one of the most promising cancer treatments available today for people with advanced head and neck cancer. It uses the power of your own immune system to fight cancer. People who come to MSK for immunotherapy treatment benefit from the close collaboration between our doctors and scientists. We are constantly looking for new and better approaches.