Head and neck cancers are known to be a group of cancers that usually start in or near the throat, voice box, nose, sinus or mouth.
It starts in the cells that line the surfaces of these body parts. These cells are known as squamous cells. This article will let you know what are the symptoms of head and neck cancer.
There are five main types of cancer and these have been named based on the head or neck that they affect. The symptoms of each of these cancers differ from the other.
The five types of cancer are oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, nasal cavity and paranasal sinuses and finally salivary glands.
One of the biggest causes of head and neck cancer is tobacco. This also includes chewing tobacco and not just smoking. Second hand smoke or passive smoking also raises the risk of head and neck cancer. Drinking too much alcohol also raises your risk.
Some of the reasons that can raise your risk are getting too much sun, human papilloma virus (HPV), being older than 40, breathing in asbestos, wood dust or paint or other chemical fumes, smoking pot, not getting enough vitamin A or B, acid reflux, having a weak immune system, etc.
In this article we have mentioned some of the top symptoms of head and neck cancer. Read further to know what are the symptoms of head and neck cancer.
1. A Lump In The Neck:
If the cancer begins in the head or neck, then it usually spreads to the lymph nodes in the neck. A lump that lasts for more than two weeks must be consulted with the doctor immediately. A lump in the neck can be the first sign of cancer.
2. Change In Your Voice:
Cancers in the larynx can cause some change in the voice. While most voice changes are not due to cancer, but you shouldn't take chances and ignore these symptoms. This is one of the symptoms of head and neck cancer.
3. A Growth In The Mouth:
Most cancers of the mouth or tongue can cause a sore or swelling that doesn't go away. These can turn out to be painless and hence can mislead you. If a sore or pain in the mouth does not go away for more than a week, then you need to get it checked immediately.
4. Bringing Up Blood:
Tumours in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs can cause bleeding. If the blood appears in the saliva or phlegm for more than a few days, then you have to consult your physician.
5. Problems In Swallowing:
Cancer of the throat or oesophagus can make swallowing solid food a very difficult task. The food may end up sticking at a certain point and can either go through to the stomach or come back up. This is one of the top symptoms of head and neck cancer.
6. Changes In The Skin:
The most common symptoms of head and neck cancer is basal cell cancer of the skin. This is not very serious if treated early. Basal cells often appear on the sun-exposed areas like the forehead, face and ears and can occur anywhere on the skin.
7. Persistent Earache:
Constant pain in or around the ear when you swallow can be a sign of infection or tumour growth in the throat. This has to be given serious attention if it is connected with difficulty in swallowing.