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Signs and Symptoms

What can you do to look for early signs of Head and Neck Cancer?

The following signs and symptoms are common for many types of Head and Neck Cancer. Sometimes people do not have any signs or symptoms and sometimes the same symptoms can be caused by other things.

You should see a doctor if you have any of these symptoms for more than three weeks:

  • A neck lump
  • A lump or sore that does not heal
  • A red or white patch in the mouth
  • Swelling, bleeding, pain or numbness in the face or within the mouth
  • Trouble speaking
  • Hoarse voice
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • A sore throat that doesn't get better after a week or two
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blood in your saliva or phlegm
  • Ear pain that doesn't go away
  • A blocked ear that doesn't clear
  • Jaw pain that doesn't go away
  • Problems with dentures
  • Loose teeth
  • A blocked nose
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • A bulging or watery eye
  • Problems seeing, for example double vision
  • Unexplained weight loss

Head and Neck Cancer can cause different symptoms depending on:

  • where it is
  • what type it is
  • what stage it is at

If you have signs of Head and Neck Cancer, your doctor will need to explore these signs more. Your doctor may:

  • speak with you about the problem as well as other illnesses, medications, and whether you smoke or drink alcohol (medical history)
  • feel and look in your neck, mouth and throat for anything unusual (physical examination)
  • request that you have some tests (diagnostic tests)
  • refer you to a specialist for more tests. There are many tests that can be used to diagnose head and neck cancer. Not everyone will need to have every test.

You know your own body better than anyone else. If you think that something isn’t right, or you notice any signs of Head and Neck Cancer, speak to a Doctor or Dentist.

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