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Head & Neck Cancer

Head & Neck cancers include malignant and benign tumors of the mouth/oral cavity, throat cancer, tumors of the larynx (or voicebox), salivary gland and thyroid gland, and tumors of the sinuses and skull base.

If you have been diagnosed with a head and neck cancer, or are concerned about a symptom you are having, our cancer care team at the Cape Cod Healthcare Regional Cancer Network has the latest, evidence-based diagnostic and treatment care available.

How Head & Neck Cancer is Diagnosed

Following a physical examination, you may be sent for imaging procedures. Biopsy, the removal of tissue for evaluation in the lab, is used to confirm the presence of cancer.

How Head & Neck Cancer is Treated

Your treatment will be carefully adapted to your type and stage of cancer. A team of experts from different specialties will meet regularly about your care and consult with experts from partner hospitals, such as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Treatment may include:

Learn More

Find out more about head and neck cancers from the National Institutes of Health.

HPV as a precursor to head and neck cancer

Several forms of cancer, including cancers of the head and neck, can be attributed to the human papillomavirus or HPV. While many people never are affected, others develop cancers of the cervix, penis, anus, tongue, tonsils or throat, sometimes many years after the initial infection.

HPV is a group of more than 150 related viruses, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It is named for the warts, or papillomas, that some HPV types can cause. It infects about 80 percent of sexually active men and women sometime during their lives, making it the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States.

In women, up to 95 percent of cervical cancers are caused by HPV, but this virus can also be dangerous for men. Cancers of the mouth, throat and soft palate in both men and women have been linked to HPV, as have 93 percent of cancers of the anus.

What Does the HPV Vaccine Do?

The virus itself is not treatable but the vaccine, administered to children before they become sexually active, can help protect them from contracting it. Talk to your pediatrician about the HPV vaccine and when it might be appropriate for your child.

Learn more about HPV from this The National Cancer Institute HPV fact sheet.