Tumours of the head and neck comprise an important group of neoplasia, the incidence of which is increasing in many parts of the world. This increase remains high, despite all the advances in modern medicine. This malignancy is more prevalent in the developing world and unfortunately, has not received satisfactory attention as the more prevalent cancers of the developed world, like lung, breast, or colon cancer. Recent advances in diagnosis and therapeutic techniques of these lesions have yielded novel molecular targets, uncovered signal pathway dominance and advanced early cancer detection. This review covers recent advances in our understanding of the etiology, molecular changes and the possible role that genomic and proteomic research might play in the diagnosis and effective cure of this modern-day scourge.