About Head and Neck Cancer


At UCLA, patients with head and neck cancer are treated by the Head and Neck Oncology Program. Below you can learn more about head and neck cancer, our cancer care services, and information for patients and healthcare professionals.

Types of Head and Neck Cancer

Head and neck cancer is a term used to describe a range of malignant, or cancerous, tumors that can appear in or around the throat, larynx, nose, sinuses and mouth.

Most head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, meaning they are in the flat, squamous cells that make up the thin, surface layer of the structures in the head and neck. If a cancer is limited to the squamous layer of the cells, is it called carcinoma in situ. If the cancer has grown beyond this cell layer and moved into deeper tissue, then it is called invasive squamous cell carcinoma.

There are five main types of head and neck cancer named by the part of the body where they begin:

  • Laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Oral and orapharyngeal cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer