Head and neck cancers are cancers that occur in the areas of the head and neck, such as the mouth, nose, throat, larynx, sinuses, or salivary glands.
Mouth cancer affects the lips, the tongue, the gums, the cheek lining, the lips, the bottom of the mouth, under the tongue, and the hard palate.
The pharynx is a tube that starts behind the nose and leads to the esophagus. It comprises of the nasopharynx; the oropharynx and the hypopharynx.
The larynx is the voicebox and contains the vocal cords. It also has the epiglottis, which helps to cover the larynx during eating to prevent food from entering the air passages.
The paranasal sinuses are spaces in the bones of the head surrounding the nose. The nasal cavity is the space inside the nose.
The major salivary glands produce saliva and are in the mouth and near the jawbone.
Paranasal sinuses and nasal cavity
A biopsy is done to check the lining of the mouth, tongue and roof of the mouth for signs of cancer.
A complete blood count blood test will be done to check for white blood cell increase which could be a sign of cancer.
Imaging tests are done with ultrasound or CT scan to check the mouth, tongue, jaw and throat areas for signs of cancer.