Head and neck cancer symptoms: The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of head and neck (mouth or oral cancer). Those who have head and neck cancer often suffer from these signs and symptoms. Some people may not have any prominent signs of head and neck cancer. In some cases, the cause of any of these symptoms may be a different medical condition, but not cancer.

The Symptoms

  • A sore or swelling inside the mouth that does not go away, even after treatment. This is the most common symptom.
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Change in voice or hoarseness
  • Swallowing difficulty
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Blurred or double vision
  • The next most common symptom includes a white or red patch in the mouth
  • A mass, bump or lump in the neck or head region with pain or swelling
  • Pain in the mouth and loosing of teeth in the absence of periodontal disease
  • Dentures that no longer fit
  • Jaw pain
  • Ear infection or pain
  • unusual nasal discharge
  • Frequent nose bleeds
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Dental pain, ear pain and throat pain
  • Foul mouth odour not explained by hygiene
  • Bad or foul odour from the mouth which is not due to bad dental hygiene or any other dental issues
  • Persistent nasal congestion or obstruction which is not due to any respiratory infection or sinus issue.
  • Weakness or numbness of any body part in the head and neck region.
  • Blood in the saliva or phlegm, which is mucus discharged into the mouth from respiratory passages

The above signs, in addition to your personal medical history and other associated health issues, are important in making a proper diagnosis of your condition. Your oncologist will enquire about the duration and frequency of some of the above symptoms. A complete history of symptoms, medical issues and present health condition is helpful in making a diagnosis of not only head and neck cancer but also any other type of cancer.