Symptoms & Detection

No one wants to find out they might have head and neck cancer. But if you are experiencing symptoms, it's important to visit your doctor right away.

Some of the warning signs and symptoms for head and neck cancer include:

  • A mass in your neck
  • A non-healing ulcer of the mouth or lip
  • Constant ear pain in one ear
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness that is constant for two weeks or more and not relieved with antibiotics
  • Unintentional weight loss

If you experience any of these symptoms, your doctor will probably refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist.

During your examination, your doctor may use an endoscopy (a thin, flexible tube with a small camera attached) to view the structure of your nose, throat, and voice box. You may also need to have special imaging for a more detailed view. Finally, a biopsy (removal of small amount of tissue) may be taken and examined in order to confirm head and neck cancer.

If you receive a cancer diagnosis, UI Health head and neck cancer specialists are here to help with the latest treatment options available.