How are head and neck cancers treated?
The treatment plan for an individual patient depends on a number of factors, including the exact location of the tumor, the stage of the cancer, and the person’s age and general health. Treatment for head and neck cancer can include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of treatments.
People who are diagnosed with HPV-positive oropharyngeal cancer may be treated differently than people with oropharyngeal cancers that are HPV-negative. Recent research has shown that patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal tumors have a better prognosis and may do just as well on less intense treatment. An ongoing clinical trial is investigating this question.
More information about treatment for specific types of head and neck cancers is in the following PDQ® cancer treatment summaries, which are available in patient and health professional versions, as well as in Spanish (the links below go to the patient versions in English):
- Hypopharyngeal Cancer
- Laryngeal Cancer
- Lip and Oral Cavity Cancer
- Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer with Occult Primary
- Nasopharyngeal Cancer
- Oropharyngeal Cancer
- Paranasal Sinus and Nasal Cavity Cancer
- Salivary Gland Cancer
The patient and the doctor should consider treatment options carefully. They should discuss each type of treatment and how it might change the way the patient looks, talks, eats, or breathes.
Visit the National Cancer Institute where this information and more can be found about Head & Neck Cancer including side effects of treatments, support information and more.