Head and Neck Cancer

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Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center uses the some of the latest research, technologies and therapies to help you manage your head and neck cancer. Our multidisciplinary team approach is designed to meet your individual needs. At Banner MD Anderson, our caring doctors are highly specialized and accomplished in spotting signs and symptoms, diagnosing and treating head and neck cancers.

What Is Head and Neck Cancer?

Head and neck cancers typically start in areas such as the mouth, nose or throat and affect swallowing, speech and hearing. Banner MD Anderson’s Head and Neck Center treats many different types of head and neck tumors, including those occurring on or in the mouth, throat, larynx, thyroid, salivary glands, skin, nose, sinus, skull, ears, eyes and neck.

Who Gets Head and Neck Cancer?

Cancers of the head and neck account for 6% of all cancers with approximately 110,000 people diagnosed every year in the United States. Men are more likely to get head and neck cancer, but the number of women diagnosed is on the rise. Head and neck cancers are diagnosed most in patients older than age 50. The leading cause of head and neck cancer is tobacco and alcohol use. Human papillomavirus (HPV) infections are the main cause for oropharyngeal cancer.

What Kind of Doctor Treats Head and Neck Cancer?

At Banner MD Anderson, we use a comprehensive approach to your care, ensuring you are informed throughout every step. Oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, neuroradiologists and plastic surgeons, with specialized training in head and neck cancer, along with nurses, speech pathologists, audiologists, nutritionists, psychologists and social workers work seamlessly together Studies show that being treated by this multidisciplinary team reduces toxicity and improves outcomes.

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What Causes Head and Neck Cancer?

The leading cause of head and neck cancer is tobacco use. Additionally, people who drink heavily or have human papillomavirus (HPV) are at higher risk for developing the disease.

Learn more about head and neck cancer causes, risk factors and prevention.

What Are the Signs, Symptoms and Types of Head and Neck Cancer?

There are many different types of head and neck cancers depending on where they’re located in the body. Common symptoms include sore throat or trouble chewing or swallowing.

Learn more about head and neck cancer signs, symptoms and types

How Is Head and Neck Cancer Diagnosed?

In general, head and neck cancers are diagnosed in later stages, making it more difficult to treat. Doctors can use tests such as a physical exam, blood test, biopsy and image testing to help diagnose head and neck cancer and determine whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Learn more about head and neck cancer tests, diagnosis and stages.

How Is Head and Neck Cancer Treated?

Many people with head and neck cancers can achieve remission if caught early. Depending on the cancer’s stage, your doctor might recommend surgery (including advanced reconstructive surgery), chemotherapy and targeted therapy, precision radiation therapy or other treatments. At Banner MD Anderson, we work with you to determine the treatment options that best meet your specific needs. And we’re here to support you every step of the way. All patients are considered for groundbreaking clinical research trials, based on eligibility. 

Learn more about head and neck cancer treatment and support

Head and Neck Reconstructive Program

The Head and Neck Reconstructive Program treats those with a functional disability or physical disfigurement caused by head and neck cancer treatment. This includes the functional and physical impacts of surgery and radiation treatment for all regions of the head and neck, including the scalp, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, tongue, oral cavity, esophagus, lower jaws and structures in the neck.

Learn more about our Head and Neck Reconstructive Program