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Head and Neck Cancer

Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

Symptoms of several head and neck cancer sites include:

Other symptoms for different sites in the head and neck area may include the following:

Oral cavity - A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth; a swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable; and unusual bleeding or pain in the mouth.

Nasal cavity and sinuses - Sinuses that are blocked and do not clear, chronic sinus infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics, bleeding through the nose, frequent headaches, swelling or other trouble with the eyes, pain in the upper teeth, or problems with dentures.

Salivary glands - Swelling under the chin or around the jawbone; numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face; or pain that does not go away in the face, chin, or neck.

Oropharynx and hypopharynx - Ear pain.

Nasopharynx - Trouble breathing or speaking, frequent headaches, pain or ringing in the ears, or trouble hearing.

Larynx - Pain when swallowing, or ear pain.

Metastatic squamous neck cancer - Pain in the neck or throat that does not go away.

These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to check with a doctor or dentist about any of these symptoms.

Source: National Cancer Institute - Head and Neck Cancer: Questions and Answers

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Last Reviewed: Mar 06, 2013

Pierre  Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS Pierre Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University