Head & Neck Cancer

Each year, about 110,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, a group of cancers that starts in or near your mouth, throat, larynx, nose or sinuses.

At CHI Saint Joseph Health, we’re committed to helping prevent this disease and bring the latest, most effective treatments to the Central Kentucky communities we serve. Each of our cancer centers features a dedicated team—including board-certified ENTs, medical and radiation oncologists, surgeons, specialized nurses and other experts. Together, we provide care for the whole you, so you can focus on getting well.

Learn more about our comprehensive care below. To request a referral to one of our caring specialists, call 844.303.9355 or find a head and neck cancer specialist anytime online.

About Head and Neck Cancer

Most head and neck cancers begin in the cells that line surfaces within these areas. There are five main types of the disease, collectively called head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), and named for the area they affect:

  • Oral cavity: Lips, gums, inside lining of the cheeks and other areas inside of your mouth
  • Pharynx (throat): Includes your tonsils, back of your tongue and your soft palate
  • Larynx (voice box): Holds your vocal cords and your epiglottis, a flap of cartilage at the base of the tongue
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses: Hollow area inside your nose and small spaces in the bones of your head around your nose
  • Salivary glands: In the lower part of your mouth near your jawbone

Each of these types has its own set of cancer symptoms. Though head and neck cancers can affect anyone, major risk factors include heavy tobacco and alcohol use, as well as the human papilloma virus (HPV), a type of sexually transmitted disease.

Prevention

Nearly 85 percent of all head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use. That is of special concern to our Kentucky communities, where the number of smokers far exceeds the national average.

The good news? Quitting now may dramatically reduce your risk, even if you’ve smoked for many years. CHI Saint Joseph Health is committed to helping you kick the habit for good with our free smoking cessation classes, offering the proven tools and support you need to succeed.

Detection

The key to treating—and beating—cancer is to catch it early. CHI Saint Joseph Health recommends routine head and neck screenings as part of your annual health exam with your doctor, as well as a yearly routine dental evaluation.

Find a CHI Saint Joseph Health Primary Care provider near you. If needed, we can also order any follow-up tests and refer you directly to one of our board-certified ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialists.

Treatment

If you’re diagnosed with head or neck cancer, rest assured you have some of the Commonwealth’s leading experts by your side. Our multi-skilled team will work closely with you to create a personalized cancer treatment plan. With sophisticated accelerators, our radiation oncologists can now target tumors with extreme precision, while protecting nearby healthy tissue and critical body structures.  And you have access to promising new treatments like immunotherapy and the latest cancer clinical trials.

Support

Throughout your journey, you’ll find a variety of cancer support services to meet your physical, emotional, spiritual and financial needs. We’ll help you coordinate your care, answer any questions and provide extra comfort and support every step of the way.

Find a Cancer Care Location Near You