Head and neck cancers rank sixth among the most common cancers today, and the survival rate has remained virtually unchanged over the past 25 years, due to late diagnosis and ineffective treatments. They have two main risk factors, tobacco and alcohol, and human papillomavirus infection is a secondary risk factor. These cancers affect areas of the body that are fundamental for the five senses. Therefore, it is necessary to treat them effectively and non-invasively as early as possible, in order to do not compromise vital functions, which is not always possible with conventional treatments (chemotherapy or radiotherapy). In this sense, nanomedicine plays a key role in the treatment and diagnosis of head and neck cancers. Nanomedicine involves using nanocarriers to deliver drugs to sites of action and reducing the necessary doses and possible side effects. The main purpose of this review is to give an overview of the applications of nanocarrier systems to the diagnosis and treatment of head and neck cancer. Herein, several types of delivery strategies, radiation enhancement, inside-out hyperthermia, and theragnostic approaches are addressed.
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