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Promptly recognizing the symptoms of head and neck cancer can substantially improve a person’s outcome in the event that a malignant tumor is in fact the underlying cause. When cancer is detected before it spreads, it is more likely to have a wider range of potential treatment options. This commonly leads to a better prognosis and a higher quality of life.

The most common head and neck cancer symptoms include:

  • Lumps or swelling in the neck or face
  • Mouth sores that bleed or remain open for more than a few days
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Recurrent sinus infections and/or sore throats
  • Difficulties chewing or swallowing
  • Numbness of the tongue or mouth
  • Blood in the sputum (saliva and respiratory tract mucus)
  • Loose teeth or changes in the fit of dental equipment
  • Abnormal moles on the skin of the face or neck

Although many of these symptoms can be caused by noncancerous conditions, it’s still important to have an experienced medical professional complete diagnostic testing to rule out cancer as a potential cause. Typically, a physical examination, one or more imaging scans and a biopsy are enough to help an oncologist determine whether an individual has head or neck cancer.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, individuals who are experiencing any of the above symptoms can consult with one of the physicians in our specialized Head and Neck Cancer Program. With medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons, pathologists and research specialists all offering expert opinions in one location, we make it as easy as possible for our patients to get the answers they deserve.

For more information about the symptoms of head and neck cancer, call 1-888-663-3488 or submit a new patient registration form online. A physician’s referral is not required to request an appointment.

Head and Neck Cancer