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What Are the Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer?

Man with pained expression holding his cheek

Many people with head and neck cancer have symptoms such as these:

  • Growth or sore in the mouth

  • Lump in the neck

  • Lump or sore inside the nose that will not heal

  • Sore throat that does not go away

  • Blocked sinuses that will not clear

  • Chronic sinus infections

  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away

  • Coughing up blood

  • Difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing

  • Frequent headache or pain around the nose, cheeks, or forehead

  • Frequent nosebleeds or ones that don’t stop

  • Weakness in the muscles of the face

  • Double vision

  • Numbness in the face

  • Pain in the ear, face, chin, neck, upper back, jaw, or upper teeth

  • Swelling of the eyes or under the chin or around the jaw

  • Vomiting

  • Bad breath even when proper oral hygiene is practiced

  • Red or white patch(es) in the mouth

  • Loose teeth

  • Loose dentures

  • Unexplained weight loss 

These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other problems. It is important to see a doctor about any symptoms such as these so that the problem can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fincannon, Joy, RN, MN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 12/1/2013
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.