Head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat and lymph nodes in the neck. The most common type of cancer in the head and neck is squamous cell carcinoma, which occurs in the cells that line the inside of the nose, mouth, and throat.
Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3% to 5% of all cancers in the United States. These cancers are more common in men and in people over age 50.
The primary treatments are radiation therapy or surgery, or both combined. Chemotherapy is often used as an additional, or adjuvant, treatment. The optimal combination of the three treatment modalities for a patient with a particular head and neck cancer depends on the site of the cancer and the stage (extent) of the disease.
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