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Head and Neck Tumors

Head and neck cancers are those that arises in the head or neck region (in the nasal cavity, sinuses, lips, mouth, salivary glands, throat, or larynx [voice box]).* Head and neck cancers are a very diverse group of cancers that can be very challenging in effective treatment due to the complicated anatomy present in this area of the body. Many of them arise as a result of the use of tobacco and alcohol, but can occur as a result of radiation exposure, human papilloma virus (HPV – the virus that causes warts), sun exposure, and other causes. Head and neck cancers account for approximately 3 to 5 percent of all cancers in the United States. These cancers are more common in men and in people over age 50.

Signs and Symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer

  1. a lump or sore that does not heal
  2. a sore throat that does not go away
  3. persistent swollen glands (lymph nodes) in the neck
  4. a lump or mass in the neck
  5. difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
  6. difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  7. a change or hoarseness in the voice
  8. white or red patches on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth
  9. changes in denture fit
  10. unexplained facial pain or persistent pain in the ear
  11. loss of smell
  12. a bloody nasal discharge or coughing up blood
  13. persistent nasal congestion that does not improve

Though these all may point to cancer, they also may be less serious conditions. Anyone with the above symptoms should consult their doctor or dentist.