Head and neck cancer includes cancers of the mouth, nose, sinuses, salivary glands, throat, and lymph nodes in the neck. Most begin in the moist tissues that line the mouth, nose, and throat. Symptoms include
- A lump or sore that does not heal
- A sore throat that does not go away
- Trouble swallowing
- A change or hoarseness in the voice
Head and neck cancers are twice as common in men. Using tobacco or alcohol increases your risk. In fact, around 75 percent of head and neck cancers are linked to tobacco use, including smoking and smokeless tobacco. Infection with HPV is a risk factor for some head and neck cancers.
People with head and neck cancer often experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with head and neck cancer do not have any of these changes. Or, the cause of a symptom may be a different medical condition that is not cancer.
Swelling or a sore that does not heal; this is the most common symptom Red or white patch in the mouthLump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area, with or without pain Persistent sore throat Foul mouth odor not explained by hygiene Hoarseness or change in voice Nasal obstruction or persistent nasal congestion Frequent nose bleeds and/or unusual nasal discharge.
Difficulty breathingDouble vision Numbness or weakness of a body part in the head and neck region Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongueJaw pain Blood in the saliva or phlegm, which is mucus discharged into the mouth from respiratory passagesLoosening of teeth dentures that no longer fitUnexplained weight lossFatigueEar pain or infection