In this prospective study, we compared the short-term quality of life (QOL) of two subgroups of head and neck cancers: oropharyngeal and laryngeal cancers. Patients treated with curative surgery, were asked to participate in the study using the EORTC QLQ-C30 and H& N35 questionnaires to examine QOL. The oropharynx group consisted of 32 (48 %) patients, while the larynx group consisted of 35 (52 %) patients. All patients were treated with either curative surgery alone or curative surgery combined with adjuvant radiotherapy or radiochemotherapy. The questionnaires were handed out pre- and posttherapy (10 months). At baseline, an impaired overall QOL (=EORTC QLQ-C30 global score) with a value of 53.4 for the whole patient collective was found; the overall QOL after 10 months improved (60.2, p < 0.05). Between the two patient groups, there was no difference in the global score after 10 months. The oropharynx patients described more problems with fatigue and oral cavity associated. The main symptoms in the larynx group were loss of sensual function and coughing. The present investigation revealed that the general post-therapy QOL in two subgroups of head and neck cancer reached a satisfying level.