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Head and Neck Cancer

Note: The information on cancer types on the ACRF website is not designed to provide medical or professional advice and is for information only. If you have any health problems or questions please consult your doctor. All statistics have been sourced from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.

Head and Neck Cancer Statistics

  • Over 3,800 new head and neck cancers were diagnosed in Australia in 2009.
  • The most commonly diagnosed head and neck cancers are cancers of the lip, tongue and larynx.
  • All three of the above cancers were more common in males than females

More cancer stats

Head and Neck Cancer Overview

Head and neck cancer refers to a group of cancers that are biologically similar – starting in the lip, mouth, nasal cavity, sinuses, pharynx and larynx. These head and neck cancers are, in 90% of cases, squamous cell carcinomas, originating from the epithelial tissues which line the cavities and surfaces of these structures and organs.

The onset of head and neck cancers is strongly associated with environmental and behavioural factors, including smoking, alcohol consumption, exposure to UV light, toxic chemicals and viruses such as the human papillomavirus.

Head and neck cancers tend to be aggressive or fast-growing, however they can be cured if detected early, usually through surgery and/or radiotherapy.

Please click on the below for more information about types of head and neck cancers.

Cancers of the oesophagus, the brain, eye, scalp, skin and muscles of the head and neck are not considered ‘head and neck cancers’.

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