Head and neck cancers include cancers of the mouth and throat, as well as rarer cancers of the nasal cavity (inside the nose), sinuses, salivary glands and middle ear.
People may use the word throat to describe different parts of the neck. These include the:
- voicebox (larynx)
- thyroid gland
- food pipe (oesophagus)
- wind pipe (trachea).
When doctors talk about throat cancers, they mean the pharynx and larynx.
Cancers affecting the thyroid gland, oesophagus and trachea are treated differently and are not explained in this information. It is important to know what type of head and neck cancer you have to make sure you have the right information. Ask your doctor or specialist nurse if you are unsure. Head and neck cancers do not include cancers affecting the brain.