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Symptoms & Detection

Head and neck cancer can affect anyone, though those with a history of heavy smoking and alcohol use, or diagnosed with human papillomavirus (HPV), often have an especially increased risk.

Knowing how to spot the warning signs, and discussing them with your doctor, can help catch the disease in its earliest stages, when it’s most treatable.

Call 844.303.9355 to request your appointment with a primary care provider or find a doctor anytime online.

Common Head and Neck Cancer Signs and Symptoms

There are five main types of head and neck cancer, each with its own set of symptoms. Here’s what to look out for:

Oral Cancer

  • Red or white patches in your mouth, including your gums and tongue
  • Swelling in your jaw, including swelling that makes false teeth fit badly
  • Bleeding or pain in your mouth

Pharynx (Throat) Cancer

  • Trouble breathing or talking
  • Painful swallowing
  • Neck or throat pain that doesn’t go away
  • Earaches, pain or ringing in your ears that keeps coming back
  • Trouble hearing

Larynx (Voice Box) Cancer

  • Painful swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Changes in your voice

Nasal Cavity and Paranasal Sinuses

  • Chronic sinus infections that antibiotics don’t cure
  • Blocked sinuses you can’t clear
  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Swelling around the eyes
  • Pain in your upper teeth
  • Problems with false teeth not fitting anymore

Salivary Glands

  • Swelling under your chin
  • Swelling around your jawbone
  • Numb or paralyzed face muscles
  • Pain in your face, chin, or neck that doesn’t go away

Early Detection is Your Best Protection

If you recognize any of the symptoms above, or just want to stay proactive, CHI Saint Joseph Health can help. Our board-certified primary care physicians offer thorough head and neck cancer screenings at locations near where you live and work. If needed, we can also perform any follow-up tests or refer you to a skilled ENT or another cancer specialist.

Find a Provider

Find a primary care provider or specialist near you in our extensive network of clinics and hospitals.