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What are head and neck cancers?
Most head and neck cancers begin in the moist, mucus membranes lining the inside of the mouth, nose and throat. These membranes are made up of squamous cells and the head and neck cancers that grow in these cells are called squamous cell carcinomas. These cancers most often affect people over the age of 50 and the rates in men are more than twice as high as the rates in women.1 In 2010, about 36,000 Americans are estimated to have been diagnosed with head and neck cancers and an estimated 7,880 were expected have died of squamous cell carcinomas. Known risks for developing head and neck cancers are smoking and heavy drinking. View additional information on head and neck cancers.
What types of discoveries about head and neck squamous cell carcinoma do The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) researchers hope to make?
- Determine whether patterns of genomic changes are different between tumors that metastasize to other regions of the body and tumors that remain in the region of origin
- Identify genomic differences that distinguish tumors across age and smoking history
- Identify genomic differences that are associated with viral infection
Where can I find more information about the TCGA Research Network’s studies or studies using TCGA data?
Where can I find clinical trials to treat head and neck cancers that are supported by the National Cancer Institute (NCI)?
View a list of NCI-supported head and neck cancers clinical trials that are now accepting patients.
1American Cancer Society: Cancer Facts and Figures 2010. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2010.