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Advanced care and treatment for head and
neck cancers

When cancer appears in the head or neck region, it is typically in the nasal cavity, sinuses, throat, larynx, lips or mouth. Head and neck cancers usually begin in squamous cells that line certain moist areas such as the mouth, nose, throat and, in rare cases, the salivary glands. These include:

Oral cavity: The lips, the front of the tongue, the gums, the cheek lining, the bottom of the mouth, the hard palate at the top of the mouth, and the gums behind wisdom teeth are all possible cancer sites.

Pharynx: This hollow throat tube has three parts: the nasopharynx (upper part), the oropharynx (middle part) and the hypopharynx (the lower part).

Larynx: Also called the voicebox, this short passageway is formed by cartilage just below the pharynx. It contains the vocal cords and a small piece of tissue, the epiglottis, which prevents food from entering the airway.

Paranasal sinuses/nasal cavity: These sinuses are small hollow spaces in the head bones surrounding the nose. The nasal cavity is the space inside the nose.

Salivary glands: These are located in the floor of the mouth and near the jawbone. They produce saliva. Cancers in this part of the head and neck are relatively uncommon.

Risk factors & symptoms for head and neck cancers

The primary risk factors for head and neck cancers include smoking, alcohol use, and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Typical symptoms include:

  • a lump or a mouth sore that won’t heal
  • a sore throat that won’t go away
  • difficulty swallowing
  • a change in the voice
  • sudden hoarseness

As with most cancers, regular follow-up care and rehabilitation are critical parts of head and neck cancer treatment.


Our head and neck cancer patients come to us from Grayslake, Lake Villa, Gurnee, Waukegan, Lindenhurst and Antioch in Lake County, IL. Learn more about head and neck cancer and how we can help develop a treatment plan for you by calling us at 847-623-2114 or use our online Request an Appointment form to schedule your consultation at Advanced Radiation Oncology Center.