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Utskriftsdato (28.3.2017)

Cancer of the Head/Neck Region

Head and neck cancer is a heterogeneous group of malignant diseases that comprise multiple sites of origin and various histopathology. Squamous cell carcinoma constitutes 70% of all cancers in the head/neck region, and the remaining are different types of adenocarcinomas, sarcomas, and others.

The head-neck region is defined as:

  • nasal cavity/paranasal sinuses 
  • larynx 
  • oral cavity 
  • pharynx (naso-, oro-, and hypopharynx)
  • salivary glands 


Head and neck cancer constitutes about 2 % of the total number of new cancer cases in Norway. The incidence is higher in middle and southern Europe and in parts of Asia.

In Norway, there is a decreasing tendency for some localizations, but a change to lower ages at debut has been observed. The average age is about 64 years and the disease affects more men than women.