Head and Neck Cancer - Symptoms

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What were the symptoms associated with your head or neck cancer?

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What are common symptoms of head and neck cancers?

Symptoms of several head and neck cancer sites include a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. Other symptoms 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.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: Bobbi, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: May 12

I have a tightness and pain in my left jaw below the ear. It radiates out to my neck on both sides now. My voice tends to sound like I have gravel in it at times and swallowing is not difficult but takes effort at times. I had thyroid cancer 15 years ago which invaded the neck but was treated with surgery and radiation.

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