Head & Neck Cancer

What is head & neck cancer

Head and neck cancer” is the term given to cancers in the head and neck region. There are many different types of tissues in this area. These cancers can begin in any of these places:

Anatomy of larynx/pharynx
  • Voice box or larynx
  • Nasal cavity: the passage behind the nose that air passes through it on its way to the throat during breathing
  • Mouth or oral cavity: including your lips, gums, tongue, floor of mouth, palate (roof of mouth), and tonsils
  • Paranasal sinuses: empty spaces around the nose (sinuses), lined with cells that make mucus that keeps the nose from drying out. They are also a space that allows your voice to echo when you talk or sing.
  • Throat or pharynx
  • Salivary glands: the glands that make saliva, which keeps food moist and helps dissolve food 

What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?

The symptoms of head and neck cancer vary depending on where the cancer began.

The most common symptoms include:
  • Growth or non-healing sore in the mouth
  • Lump in the neck
  • Lump in the face
  • Lump or sore inside the nose, on the lip
  • Mass or bump on your scalp
  • Sore throat that does not go away
  • Feeling that something is stuck in the throat
  • Cough or hoarseness that does not go away
  • Coughing up blood or bleeding in the mouth
  • Trouble swallowing, speaking or breathing
  • Pain when swallowing with or without weight loss
  • Pain in the ear, face, chin, neck, upper back, jaw, or teeth
  • Frequent nosebleeds or nosebleeds that don’t stop
  • Weakness in the muscles of the face or paralysis of one side of face, especially associated with a lump in the face or neck
  • Numbness in the face
  • Swelling of the eyes, under the chin, or around the jaw
  • Bad breath even with proper oral hygiene
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Loose teeth or dentures despite dental care
  • Unexplained weight loss

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