The main different kinds of neck and head cancers are cancer of the oral cavity, oropharygeal cancer, cancer of the nose, cancer of the ear and cancer of the eye.
Cancers of head and neck can occur in any tissues or organs in the head and the neck. They are curable if they are caught early. Fortunately, most neck and head cancers produce early symptoms.
Some of the symptoms are as follows:
Bringing up blood
This might be caused by some other conditions besides cancer. However, tumors in the nose, mouth, throat or lungs can cause bleeding. If blood persists for several days in your saliva or phlegm, consult a doctor.
Change in voice
If you have any voice change or hoarseness lasting for more than two weeks, you should consult a doctor as most cancers in the larynx can cause a change in voice.
Change in the skin
The most common head and neck cancer is basal cell cancer. This type of cancer cells appear mostly on sun exposed areas on the skin although it can appear anywhere on the skin. Basal cancer cells often appear as a small, pale patch that enlarges slowly, becoming an ulcer eventually. Some of these basal cancer cells may show color changes.
Constant pain in ear
In the event whereby when you swallow and there is a constant pain in or around the ear, it can be a symptom of infection or tumor growth in the throat.
Lump in the neck
A lump (or lumps) in the neck can be the first sign of cancer of the mouth, throat, voicebox (larynx), thyroid gland, or of certain lymphomas or blood cancers. Cancers that begin in the head or neck usually spread to lymph nodes in the neck before they start to spread to other parts of the body.
Growth in the mouth
Most cancers of the mouth or tongue cause a sore or swelling that doesn't go away. These sores and swellings may be painless unless they become infected. Bleeding may occur during the later stage.
Cancer of the throat or esophagus (swallowing tube) may make swallowing solid foods or even liquid difficult
Although all these are signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, it does not imply that having these indicates that you have cancer. Do visit a doctor to have a thorough checkup.