Search Our Site:  
Share this article:   Bookmark and Share
Custom Search

Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

The term “head and neck cancer” refers to a group of cancers that occur in the head and neck area, including cancers of the mouth, lip, nose, throat, salivary glands, sinuses, pharynx, larynx, and lymph nodes in the neck. Ninety percent of head and neck cancers are squamous cell carcinomas, which originate in the mucous membranes of these areas. We have put together a list of common signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer below.

Also, we have information on diagnosis, helpful books and valuable resources for patients.

The Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer are as follows:

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • A lump or sore that does not heal
  • Trouble swallowing
  • A hoarse-sounding voice
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Persistent earache
  • Sinus congestion
  • Bad breath
  • Mouth ulcers or sores that do not heal
  • Sore tongue
  • White or dark red patches on the sides of the mouth or the tongue
  • Bleeding from the mouth
  • Numbness in the mouth
  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck
  • Neck pain

Tobacco use increases your risk of signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer by eighty-five percent. Alcohol use is also associated with head and neck cancer, as is the human papillomavirus (HPV).

If found in its initial stages, head and neck cancer is highly curable.

Diagnosis of Head and Neck Cancer

Many people initially have no signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, when the cancer is in its earliest stages.  A dentist may be the first to see the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, during a routine dental visit. A needle biopsy is necessary to confirm a diagnosis of head and neck cancer.

Books For People With Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

Johns Hopkins Patients’ Guide to Head and Neck Cancer (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
Christine G. Gourin
100 Q&A About Head and Neck Cancer (100 Questions & Answers about . . .)
Elise Carper

Meeting the Challenges of Oral and Head and Neck Cancer: A Survivor’s Guide
Nancy E. Leupold
Head and Neck Cancer: Treatment, Rehabilitation, and Outcomes
Elizabeth C. Ward and Corina J. van As Brooks

Head and Neck Cancer Resources

General Patient Resources

  • National Cancer Institute

Information about head and neck cancer treatment, prevention, causes, screening, clinical trials, research and statistics from the National Cancer Institute.

  • Medicine Net . com

Read about head and neck cancer diagnosis, symptoms (lump), treatments, research, support, types (adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, metastatic squamous) and causes.

  • Support For People Woth Oral and Head and Neck Cancer (SPOHNC)

Welcome to SPOHNC. Support for People with Oral and Head and Neck cancer (SPOHNC) is a self-help nonprofit organization involved in the development of programs of support.

  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America

For a personalized approach to head and neck cancer treatment that focuses on all the needs of a patient, not just the disease, visit CTCA online.

  • American Head and Neck Society

AHNS is an organization for the advancement of research and education in head and neck oncology. Gives meetings and events, an otolaryngology archive, and more.

  • Med Help

Med Help’s Head & Neck Cancer Help Forum. This forum is for help, questions and support regarding Head & Neck Cancer.–Neck-Cancer/show/323

  • Cancer Compass

Our online cancer forum is full of information and resources about head and neck cancer. Connect with fellow cancer patients to compare stories, research treatment.,0,119,39.htm

Medical Resources

  • Medline Plus

A service of the US National Library of Medicine.

  • Mayo Clinic

At Mayo Clinic, head and neck cancer patients have access to experienced specialists and the latest treatments, such as robotic tumor removal surgery and more.