Head and neck cancers usually develop within the squamous cells (the moist cells that line the inside of the mouth, nose, and throat, for example). Alcohol and tobacco use (which includes the use of smokeless tobacco, like chewing tobacco) are two of the most important risk factors for the development of head and neck cancers.

Infection with types of human papillomavirus (HPV), particularly HPV type 16, is a risk factor for some types of head and neck cancers, particularly oropharyngeal cancers of the tonsils and base of the tongue. Other risk factors for head and neck cancers may include:

  • Preserved or salted foods
  • Occupational exposure
  • Radiation exposure
  • Epstein-Barr infection

Northwestern Medicine offers multidisciplinary care for the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancers, including the Head and Neck Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.


Cancer Care Centers

Battling cancer is a multistep journey that may require many visits. During treatment, you need to devote your energy to getting healthy, not getting to the next appointment. That’s why treatment and support services at Northwestern Medicine are conveniently located throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, so you can get quick access to all the expertise and support you need, close to home.

Head and Neck Cancer Care in Downtown Chicago

The Northwestern Medicine Head and Neck Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is dedicated to treating benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, as well as swallowing and speech problems.

Head and Neck Cancer Care in the Northern Suburbs

The Cancer Center at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital treats benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, as well as swallowing and speech problems

Head and Neck Cancer Care in the Western Suburbs

Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Warrenville and Northwestern Medicine Cancer Center Delnor treat benign and malignant tumors of the head and neck, as well as swallowing and speech problems.

Head and Neck Cancer Care in Greater DeKalb County

Patients with head and neck cancer are evaluated and treated in the Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Valley West Head and Neck Clinic.

Conditions

Nurse speaking with cancer support group patient.

Cancer Support Services

Northwestern Medicine offers a multidisciplinary approach to cancer care that includes support services to help nurture and sustain you and your family throughout your cancer journey.


Looking for a Cancer Second Opinion?

It's vital that you're comfortable with your treatment decision and have confidence in your doctor. For these reasons, a second opinion with another specialist can help you make smart treatment decisions.