What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Although the symptoms vary depending on the location of the head and neck cancer, one of the most common symptoms is a lump or sore, which may or may not be painful. Other possible symptoms include bleeding in the mouth or nose, headaches, numbness or muscle weakness in the face, bad breath, voice changes and difficulty with swallowing or breathing. Weight loss may occur because of pain or difficulty with swallowing. All of these symptoms can be caused by other disorders, but symptoms that last for more that two to three weeks are more likely to be due to cancer.

Symptoms vary with head and neck cancer, primarily because there are different types of the disease. Some of the most common warning signs of head and neck cancer include:

  • a persistent and unexplained lump or sore in the mouth, nose or neck
  • a persistent sore throat
  • difficulty swallowing
  • changes in your voice, including hoarseness

If you develop these or other unexplained symptoms in your head or neck, talk to your doctor immediately.

Continue Learning about Head & Neck Cancers

What Are the Most Prominent Head and Neck Cancers You See?
What Are the Most Prominent Head and Neck Cancers You See?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.