Common Symptoms of Head & Neck Cancer

Generally tumours arise from the surface lining of the mouth or throat. Common symptoms include pain, presence of a lump or ulcer, bleeding and abnormal sensations during swallowing or hoarse voice.

The type of symptoms will vary depending on the site of a tumour. A tumour of the tongue typically will cause a painful ulcer on the side of the tongue. Tumours of the throat may cause difficulty swallowing or pain during swallowing.

Tumours of the voice box (larynx) usually cause hoarseness of the voice. In some cases, the tumour itself may not produce any symptoms, but is diagnosed as a consequence of a secondary tumour (metastasis) usually present as an enlarging lump in the neck due to cancer within a lymph node.

The vast majority of patients who are diagnosed with squamous cell cancers of the head and neck will have a past history of tobacco use (either smoked or chewed tobacco) or excessive alcohol consumption. The highest risk group for these tumour types are individuals with both of the above risk factors.

"Dear Chris, I thought you would be delighted to know that my recent scan shows further reduction in the tumour and so it would seem that the radiotherapy is still "working its magic"!! Long may it continue! If anything begins to happen again I’ll be back!! All the best"
JT, London

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