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Head and Neck Cancer
Paige Bennett, MD; Aidan Burke, MD
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KEY FACTS

  • Top Differential Diagnoses

    • Diagnostic Checklist

      TERMINOLOGY

      • Definitions

        • Head and neck (H&N) cancer 
          • Malignancies arising from upper aerodigestive tract (UADT)
            • Nasopharynx, larynx, hypopharynx, oral cavity, oropharynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses
            • Malignancy of salivary glands, skin cancer, and thyroid gland is not covered in this chapter, although these malignancies can also be classified as H&N cancer 
            • Commonly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) 
          • Pharyngeal cancer comprises 3 types
            • Nasopharyngeal
            • Non-HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (OPC)
            • Hypopharyngeal
            • Tobacco and alcohol related 
          • High-risk HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (HR-HPV OPC) is separate category 
            • HPV types 16 and 18 most common
            • Younger patients, less tobacco exposure, better prognosis 
          • Unknown primary H&N cancer 
            • Lymphadenopathy without discernible primary lesion despite examination, imaging 

      IMAGING

      • Nuclear Medicine Findings

        • CT Findings

          • Imaging Recommendations

            DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

              PATHOLOGY

              • General Features

                CLINICAL ISSUES

                • Presentation

                  • Demographics

                    • Natural History & Prognosis

                      • Treatment

                        DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                        • Consider

                          • Image Interpretation Pearls

                            Selected References

                            1. Creff G et al: Evaluation of the prognostic value of FDG PET/CT parameters for patients with surgically treated head and neck cancer: A systematic review. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. ePub, 2020
                            2. Sanli Y et al: Update 2018: 18F-FDG PET/CT and PET/MRI in head and neck cancer. Clin Nucl Med. 43(12):e439-e452, 2018
                            3. Szyszko TA et al: PET/CT and PET/MRI in head and neck malignancy. Clin Radiol. 73(1):60-9, 2018
                            4. Hoang JK et al: Evaluation of cervical lymph nodes in head and neck cancer with CT and MRI: tips, traps, and a systematic approach. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 200(1):W17-25, 2013
                            Related Anatomy
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                            Related Differential Diagnoses
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                            References
                            Tables

                            Tables

                            KEY FACTS

                            • Top Differential Diagnoses

                              • Diagnostic Checklist

                                TERMINOLOGY

                                • Definitions

                                  • Head and neck (H&N) cancer 
                                    • Malignancies arising from upper aerodigestive tract (UADT)
                                      • Nasopharynx, larynx, hypopharynx, oral cavity, oropharynx, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses
                                      • Malignancy of salivary glands, skin cancer, and thyroid gland is not covered in this chapter, although these malignancies can also be classified as H&N cancer 
                                      • Commonly squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) 
                                    • Pharyngeal cancer comprises 3 types
                                      • Nasopharyngeal
                                      • Non-HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (OPC)
                                      • Hypopharyngeal
                                      • Tobacco and alcohol related 
                                    • High-risk HPV-associated oropharyngeal cancer (HR-HPV OPC) is separate category 
                                      • HPV types 16 and 18 most common
                                      • Younger patients, less tobacco exposure, better prognosis 
                                    • Unknown primary H&N cancer 
                                      • Lymphadenopathy without discernible primary lesion despite examination, imaging 

                                IMAGING

                                • Nuclear Medicine Findings

                                  • CT Findings

                                    • Imaging Recommendations

                                      DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS

                                        PATHOLOGY

                                        • General Features

                                          CLINICAL ISSUES

                                          • Presentation

                                            • Demographics

                                              • Natural History & Prognosis

                                                • Treatment

                                                  DIAGNOSTIC CHECKLIST

                                                  • Consider

                                                    • Image Interpretation Pearls

                                                      Selected References

                                                      1. Creff G et al: Evaluation of the prognostic value of FDG PET/CT parameters for patients with surgically treated head and neck cancer: A systematic review. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. ePub, 2020
                                                      2. Sanli Y et al: Update 2018: 18F-FDG PET/CT and PET/MRI in head and neck cancer. Clin Nucl Med. 43(12):e439-e452, 2018
                                                      3. Szyszko TA et al: PET/CT and PET/MRI in head and neck malignancy. Clin Radiol. 73(1):60-9, 2018
                                                      4. Hoang JK et al: Evaluation of cervical lymph nodes in head and neck cancer with CT and MRI: tips, traps, and a systematic approach. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 200(1):W17-25, 2013