Head and Neck Cancer Symptoms

The symptoms of several head and neck cancers include a lump or sore that does not heal, a sore throat that does not go away, difficulty swallowing, and a change or hoarseness in the voice. Other symptoms, by cancer site, include:

  • Oral cavity. A white or red patch on the gums, tongue, or lining of the mouth; a swelling of the jaw that causes dentures to fit poorly or become uncomfortable; or unusual bleeding or pain in the mouth.

  • Nasal cavity and sinuses. Sinuses that are blocked and do not clear; chronic sinus infections that do not respond to treatment with antibiotics; nosebleeds, frequent headaches, swelling or other trouble with the eyes, pain in the upper teeth, or problems with dentures.

  • Salivary glands. Swelling under the chin or around the jawbone; numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face; or pain that does not go away in the face, chin, or neck.

  • Oropharynx and hypopharynx: Ear pain.

  • Nasopharynx: Trouble breathing or speaking, frequent headaches, pain or ringing in the ears, or trouble hearing.

  • Larynx: Pain when swallowing or ear pain.

  • Metastatic squamous neck cancer: Pain in the neck or throat that does not go away.

These symptoms may be caused by cancer or by other, less serious conditions.

We can help

U.S. News & World Report ranks The Mount Sinai Health System in New York City among the top 20 hospitals in the United States for the treatment of ear, nose, and throat disease, including cancer. Please call the Mount Sinai Head and Neck Cancer Center at 212-241-9410 to schedule an appointment.


Contact Us

Ear, Nose and Throat/Head and Neck Services
5 East 98th Street
New York, NY 10029
Tel: 212-241-9410