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September 25, 2015 / drjamesfreije

Types of Head and Neck Cancer

Holding an MD from the State University of New York Upstate Medical Center, otolaryngologist Dr. James Freije provides care for ear, nose, and throat conditions, including head and neck surgery, to children and adults as an associate at the Mount Nittany Physician Group. During his career, Dr. James Freije has treated a range of head and neck cancers.

Head and neck cancers are generally categorized into five main types, based on their location.

1. Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers develop in either the larynx, or voice box, or the hypopharynx, or gullet. They are two of the most common cancers that develop in the head and neck area, and the treatments are very similar for both types.

2. Nasopharyngeal cancers develop in the air passage found just behind the nose. Because this air passage, the nasopharynx, contains a wide range of tissue types and cells, it is susceptible to a variety of cancer types, and there are consequently several different types of tumors that may develop within this group.

3. Salivary gland cancers form in the salivary gland clusters found in the mouth and neck. Although 80 percent of tumors that form in the parotid salivary gland are benign, tumors in the sublingual salivary gland are nearly always malignant.

4. Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancers are found in the nasal cavity just behind the nose or the paranasal sinuses, the air-filled areas surrounding the nasal cavity. These areas are also more at risk for a wider range of cancers because they contain several cell types.

5. Oral and oropharyngeal cancers, which form in the oral cavity or the oropharynx, the middle of the throat, are largely squamous cell carcinomas. These types of cancer most often develop in the tonsils, tongue, gums, and floor of the mouth.

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