Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck


Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck

Metastatic Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (MSCC HN) is an aggressive type of cancer that originates in the lining of the hollow spaces and tubes of the throat and neck, including the mouth, nose, throat, and larynx. It is a type of Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) – one of the most common types of cancers in the head and neck.


The most common symptom of MSCC HN is a sore that doesn’t heal in the head or neck area. Other signs and symptoms include:

  • Pain in the neck, head, or face
  • A lump in the neck, head, or face
  • Difficulty swallowing or speaking
  • Changes or hoarseness in voice
  • Unusual bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Recurring earache or sore throat
  • Numbness or weakness in the face or neck


In general, the causes of MSCC HN are not well understood. There are some known risk factors, however, including:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Exposure to some forms of lighting, including lasers and tanning beds
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a common sexually transmitted infection
  • Exposure to certain chemicals, like nickel, arsenic, and chromium.


To diagnose MSCC HN, your doctor may use a physical exam, biopsy, and imaging tests (CT and MRI scans). Blood tests may also be used to check for evidence of cancer in the body.


The standard treatment for MSCC HN is chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Surgery may also be used in some cases, depending on the location and size of the tumor. In some cases, proton beam therapy (a type of radiation therapy) or immunotherapy may be used.


MSCC HN is a very aggressive form of cancer that can quickly spread to other parts of the body. Early detection and treatment can improve outcomes, however, and people with MSCC HN can sometimes achieve full remission.