Head and Neck Cancers

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.

  • What are Head and Neck Cancers?

    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.

    In 90% of cases, these cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, originating from the epithelial tissues which line the cavities and surfaces of these organs and structures.

    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.

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

    Please click links below to find more information about the most common types of head and neck cancer.

  • Head and neck cancer risk

    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 or viruses, such as the human papillomavirus.

Head and neck cancer statistics

  • 5,189

    new cases are estimated to be diagnosed in 2022

  • 72.0%

    is the five-year survival rate for head and neck cancers

  • 64.9

    years is the median age of diagnosis

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Cancer in Australia 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare

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