Head and neck cancer is a term used to describe a range of malignant tumors that can appear in or around the throat, larynx (voice box), nose, sinuses, and mouth. The main types of head and neck cancer are named by the part of the body where they begin. Dr. DeEtta Gray performs diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of head and neck cancer in her Bellveue office for patients from Bellevue, Redmond, Kirkland, Seattle and throughout the Northwest.

Main Types of Head and Neck Cancer:

  • Laryngeal Cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal Cancer
  • Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinus Cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal Cancer
  • Oral and Oropharyngeal Cancer
  • Pharyngeal Cancer
  • Salivary Gland Cancer
  • Metastatic Squamous Neck Cancer
  • Esophageal Cancer

What are the risk factors for Head and Neck Cancer?

Eighty-five percent of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use. Alcohol consumption is another important risk factor. Other risk factors include sun exposure to the lips, poor oral hygiene, mouthwash with high alcohol content, and possibly human papillomavirus infection (oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer); Epstein-Barr infection, occupational exposure to wood dust, consumption of certain preservatives and/or salted foods (nasopharynx cancer); industrial exposures such as wood or nickel (paranasal and nasal cancer); asbestos (laryngeal cancer); and radiation therapy (salivary glands).

How are head and neck cancers diagnosed?

Dr. Gray performs a complete physical examination, evaluates your medical history, and orders diagnostic tests. X-rays, CT scan, MRI or PET scans may be performed. A laryngoscope may be inserted through the mouth to view the larynx; an esophagoscope to examine your esophagus; and/or a nasopharyngoscope may be inserted through the nose to view the nasal cavity and the nasopharynx.

If the diagnosis is cancer, Dr. Gray will determine the stage of cancer using a surgical examination, imaging procedures, and laboratory tests to best plan your treatment.

How are Head and Neck Cancers treated?

When it is feasible, surgery is commonly used to remove cancer and to repair function. Radiation therapies may be performed and combined with surgery. Chemotherapy is another form of treatment.