Types of head and neck cancer
Head and neck cancers can be described by the area where they started. They are also described according to the type of cell the cancer started in.
Cancer in different areas of the head and neck
We have information about how cancers are diagnosed and treated in different areas of the head and neck. You might find it helpful to look at the information about:
Types of cancer cells
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCC)
The most common type of head and neck cancer is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Most head and neck cancers (about 9 out of 10) start in squamous cells, which are the skin cells lining the mouth, nose and throat.
Rare types of head and neck cancers
Rarely, head and neck cancers can develop from other types of cells:
- Lymphomas develop from white blood cells called lymphocytes.
- Adenocarcinomas develop from cells that line the glands in the body.
- Sarcomas develop from the cells that make up muscles, cartilage, bone or blood vessels.