Neck Mass. The ears, nose, and throat areas are the most common affected parts by head and neck cancers. It depends on where the cancer is located and how it spreads to distinguish their symptoms. For example, tumors in the larynx or pharynx may show itself as a lump in the throat. Mouth cancer may spread sores in the mouth or swelling of the jaw. These tumors often cause symptoms that could be misunderstood as serious conditions. Voice changes, headaches, sore throat or a cough may be symptoms of throat cancer but are also symptoms of the harmless common cold as well.
People with thyroid cancer sometimes notice swelling or small painless lumps called thyroid nodules in the front of the neck.
This is the most common symptom among patients. Areas of skin that have are not healing properly can be a sign of oral cancer.
Lump in the Neck, Jaw, or Mouth
A lump in the jaw or mouth is a common sign of cancer in the head and neck. The lips are also vulnerable to lump formation.
If a lump is in the neck, it could be a sign of thyroid cancer or an enlarged lymph node. Lymph nodes swelling is a common symptom of head and neck cancer, mouth cancer, and salivary gland cancer.
Jaw Movement Difficulty
A head and neck tumor that involves the bones, muscles, or nerves of the jaw will impact your mouth movement and cause pain. If opening your mouth more than three fingers apart is difficult, consult with your doctor. This condition is known as trismus.
Head and neck cancer can cause some pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food. You may cough or feel like food or liquid are going into the wrong airway.
Sore Throat & Face Pain
Pain or discomfort in the face and throat that doesn’t subside is a common symptom of salivary gland cancer and mouth cancer.
White or Red Patches Located in the Mouth or Throat
Many abnormal red patches could be a sign of cancer or precancerous changes. White patches are called leukoplakia while red patches are called erythroplakia.
These patches are not automatically cancer. If left untreated, it is possible to lead to cancer. Oral thrush is a type of fungal infection that also causes discoloring and patches.
Weight loss is a common symptom of any kind of cancer as it slowly weakens the body. Head and neck cancer can make it excruciating to eat and hard to swallow, which factors in to drastic weight loss.
Head and neck cancer can affect your voice. Your voice will change due to many factors. It can be quieter or husky. Or it could be nasal sounding as when you have a cold all the time. You can also slur a lot of words and have a hard time pronouncing syllables.
Ear Pain or Hearing Loss
You may experience constant ringing in the ears as ear pain is common with throat cancer.
Since it is around the airways, throat cancer can affect your breathing. Nasal congestion is a common sign of sinus cancer as well as other head and neck cancers. You may also experience nosebleeds.
Symptoms of a head and neck tumor are often similar with those caused by other simpler conditions so it’s safer to check sooner. If you experience any of these symptoms and have concerns, consult with your doctor to distinguish the severity of your case.
Dr. Kanwar Kelley is located at Orinda California and if you are suffering from Neck Mass, don’t hesitate to make an appointment (925) 254-6710. He is an experienced physician in many illnesses who can guide your health in the right direction.