14:39 PM

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?

Many people with head and neck cancer experience a variety of symptoms, and most are quite noticeable.

“Many symptoms of head and neck cancer don’t go away for two weeks or more,” says Lehigh Valley Health Network otolaryngology surgeon Chetan Nayak, MD, with LVPG Ear, Nose and Throat. “If someone is in a high-risk category – a heavy smoker or consumes alcohol regularly for example – and experiences these symptoms, they would be wise to see a physician as soon as possible.”

Common symptoms of head and neck cancer include:

  • A growth or sore in the mouth

  • A lump in the neck

  • A lump or sore inside the nose that will not heal

  • A sore throat that does not go away

  • Blocked sinuses that will not clear

  • Chronic sinus infections

  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away

  • Coughing up blood

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing

  • Frequent headache or pain around the nose, cheeks, jaws, or forehead

  • Frequent nosebleeds or ones that don't stop

  • Muscle weakness

  • Numbness in the face

  • Pain in the ear

  • Swelling of the eyes or under the chin or around the jaw

  • Vomiting

These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other problems. It is important to see a doctor about any symptoms like these so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Do you have questions about head and neck cancers? Download our free information guide to learn more.