The term cancer covers a fair number of different malignancies relevant in the head and neck region. These different diseases are discussed in separate individual sections.

Mouth (oral) cancer, facial skin cancer and cancer of the salivary glands (all included here), plus laryngeal and oro-pharyngeal cancer (both not detailed here) account for the vast majority of cases of head and neck cancer. In addition, there are malignant bone lesions, malignancies affecting the blood or lymph systems or nerve tissues.

Malignancies in the head and neck region may also occur as secondary tumours (metastases) from tumours elsewhere in the body.