What Is Head and Neck Cancer?

VIDEO | 12:00

Head and neck cancer can begin in the lining of the mouth, throat, voice box, nose, or sinuses, says David Pfister, Chief of Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Head and Neck Oncology Service. In the last decade, infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) has eclipsed tobacco and alcohol use as the most significant risk factor for head and neck cancer. HPV-related cancers usually occur in the tonsils or the base of the tongue. Treatment for head and neck cancer is the same regardless of whether a person has HPV, but people with HPV-related tumors usually have better treatment outcomes than others with head and neck cancer.