Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms

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Since the head and neck cancer comprises of various cancers of various parts, the symptoms are related to the mucosal parts (moist tissue lining of the parts that are exposed to outer environment) i.e throat, nose and mouth. Early detection of the symptoms of the cancer can result in successful treatment. It can also save your life. Visit your doctor immediately if you find any of the warning signs. Remember, early detection of cancer leads in successful treatment.

Common symptoms for head and neck cancer are:

  1. Lump in the throat

    Many head and neck cancers have their origin in the lymph nodes in the throat. If the lump in the throat lasts for more than two weeks, one must immediately consult their physician. Such lumps are generally painless. They continue to enlarge steadily. This symptom of head and neck cancer is easy to understand and can prevent further spread of cancer. It can be the first warning sign of mouth cancer (oral cancer), larynx, throat and thyroid gland cancer.

  2. Problem in swallowing food

    This relates to the cancer of the lymph nodes. Cancer of esophagus makes the food difficult to digest. The food may stick to the swallowing tube at a certain point or it may come up. The same problem lies with the liquid. You may also get the feeling of numbness in the mouth. If you come across such problem consistently for few weeks, consult your physician immediately. An x-ray of the esophagus is taken to detect the cancer.

  3. Changes in the skin

    In the derma (skin) cancer, there is color change in the skin-tone. A spot appears which is either very deep, dense black or blue-black in color. If the spot changes its shape, size it should be immediately consulted to the dermatologist or to your physician. There can also be a sour on the lower part of the face, lips or ear. If it does not heal in few weeks, then there is something to be worried about. The basal cell cancer appears on the area which is over-exposed to the sun. So changes can be noticed soon on the face, ears and forehead. If worked upon these symptoms early, it does not prove to be dangerous or fatal ahead.

  4. Change in the voice

    If you notice any change in the voice or hoarseness in the voice for more than two weeks, it is probably associated with the cancer of the larynx. Larynx is also called as the voice box. So its association with the vocal cords is quite obvious. Hence, talk to your physician or to your otolaryngologist (the person who examines vocal chords and is expert at the diagnosis of head and neck) as early as possible when you become aware of the symptom.

  5. Swelling in the mouth

    Usually, the swelling or sore in the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks, is one of the primary signs of oral cancer. If it is accompanied by lumps in the neck then there is definitely a problem. There can be appearance of red or white patches in the mouth. Discuss with your physician about the problem as early as possible. Bleeding of the sore occurs in the later stages of the cancer. However, it is not always associated with the cancer. There may be tumor in the lungs, mouth or throat that causes bleeding. Better to check with your doctor than to regret later.

  6. Consistent pain in the ear

    If you experience constant pain in the ear or around the ear while swallowing your food, it can be a symptom of throat infection. A tumor is most probably developed. If the ache in the ear is coupled with lump in the neck or difficulty in swallowing, then it must be a matter of concern and must be immediately consulted to the physician.

  7. Difficulty in breathing:

    Difficulty in breathing or noisy breathing can be related to the cancer of pharynx. Pharynx is a situated behind the nasal cavities and mouth and heads towards the esophagus and larynx, the voice box. Since, pharynx also serves the respiratory system, difficulty in breathing can be one of the symptom of pharynx cancer. Visit your physician as early as possible if the problem persists for more than two weeks.

  8. Swelling around the eye is observed consistently for few weeks. It is also called as double vision.

  9. Blockage in the nose or bleeding of the nose for several times in the week. It is one of the sign of pharynx cancer. Hence, must be immediately shown to the doctor if the problem continues. Normally, blockage of the nose can be due to normal cold. But, it is better to consult your physician if the blockage persists for more than two weeks as we cannot take any chances.

  10. Pain in the upper jaw or face

    So, if you observe any of the above symptoms, better consult your physician immediately than to repent later. Early treatment of the disease proves to be successful. So don't take any chances if you notice any head and neck cancer symptoms.

    Take care!

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