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Head and Neck Cancer Signs, Symptoms and Types

Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center’s patient-focused approach is dedicated to all aspects of your care, even before you notice symptoms. In the early stages of head and neck cancer, many patients have no symptoms at all. If you are concerned about any changes to your health, please talk with your doctor. To diagnose your illness once symptoms present themselves, your doctor may ask questions such as how long and how often you’ve been experiencing these symptoms.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer?

The most common sign of head and neck cancer that patients experience is a sore throat that doesn’t go away. However, symptoms vary based on where the cancer is located and can be similar to other conditions. If you notice signs or symptoms of head and neck cancer, Banner MD Anderson can help.

Early or more advanced symptoms of head and neck cancer may include:

  • Red or white spot in the mouth
  • Mouth ulcer (broken skin)
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or moving jaw or tongue
  • Loose teeth
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Bad breath
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Frequent coughing
  • Trouble swallowing (dysphagia)
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Frequent nosebleeds, nasal congestion or sinus infections
  • Swelling, lump, bump or mass in the head or neck
  • Numbness or weakness in the head or neck
  • Changes to a mole/freckle
  • Skin sore that doesn’t heal
  • Trouble speaking or change in voice
  • Double vision
  • Ear pain, trouble hearing or ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight loss

Types of Head and Neck Cancer

There are different types of head and neck cancers based on the part of the body they occur. Most are squamous cell carcinomas, found on the skin and lining of organs. Banner MD Anderson doctors will evaluate your specific risk factors, symptoms and test results to build a treatment plan customized to you.

Some types of head and neck cancer include:

  • Laryngeal cancer
  • Nasopharyngeal cancer
  • Hypopharyngeal cancer
  • Nasal cavity and paranasal sinus cancer
  • Salivary gland cancer
  • Oral cancer
  • Oropharyngeal cancer
  • Tonsil cancer

Banner MD Anderson is here to help. If you experience any new or change in your symptoms, make an appointment with Banner MD Anderson’s caring team of head and neck cancer experts today.

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