What are the symptoms of head and neck cancer?

It is essential to stay vigilant for symptoms such as enduring neck lumps, chronic mouth sores, and ongoing difficulty with swallowing. Given their potential overlap with less severe conditions, a comprehensive evaluation by a specialist is vital.

Diagnosing head and neck cancers at Louisiana ENT

At Louisiana ENT, we specialize in the precise detection and assessment of head and neck cancers. Our diagnostic process is thorough, involving a detailed physical exam, laboratory testing, advanced endoscopic procedures, and state-of-the-art imaging techniques like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs, and we can work closely with other medical specialists to plan treatment.

Goal-oriented treatment

Our treatment regimens are tailored to each individual, aiming to excise tumors and affected tissues to halt cancer progression and alleviate its symptoms. We integrate surgical precision based on the cancer type and its location.

Understanding head & neck cancers

Predominantly originating from the squamous cells lining mucosal surfaces, head and neck cancers, or squamous cell carcinomas present a distinct challenge. While rarer forms exist within salivary glands and other structures, common cancer sites include:

Oral cavities (lips, tongue, gums, cheeks, mouth)

  • Throat
  • Voice box (larynx)
  • Nasal and sinus cavities
  • Salivary glands
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Signs of head & neck cancer

A range of symptoms may arise due to head or neck cancers. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is imperative to have a comprehensive diagnosis from a specialist.

  • Lump in the neck: A persistent or growing lump could indicate a cancerous presence, often painless at first, and maybe the first sign of thyroid, laryngeal, or pharyngeal cancer.
  • Mouth sores: An ulcer or sore inside the mouth that does not heal, often white or red patches on the gums, tongue, tonsils, or lining of the mouth, could suggest oral cancer.
  • Voice changes: A noticeable change in the voice, such as hoarseness, may signal laryngeal (voice box) cancer, especially if there is no cold or flu, and the change persists for more than two weeks.
  • Difficulty swallowing: Persistent difficulty or discomfort in swallowing, known as dysphagia, can be a sign of cancer in the throat or esophagus, indicating an obstruction or tumor growth.
  • Persistent sore throat: A sore throat that does not go away could be a warning of throat cancer. It may be accompanied by a feeling that something is caught in the throat.
  • Ear pain: Persistent ear pain, particularly when swallowing, without an ear infection may be an indirect sign of cancer in the throat region, where the cancer affects nerve pathways.
  • Weight loss: Unexplained weight loss of more than ten pounds can be associated with cancers of the head and neck, especially cancers of the esophagus, stomach, or pharynx.
  • Nasal obstruction or persistent congestion: Frequent nosebleeds or a continuous nasal blockage, especially when only on one side, could suggest a tumor in the nasal cavity or sinuses.
  • Trouble breathing: Ongoing difficulty with breathing or constant congestion can indicate a blockage in the nasal passage or throat, which may be a symptom of cancer.
  • Frequent headaches: Persistent headaches can indicate a tumor in the nasal cavity, sinuses, or brain. If they do not respond to usual treatments, further investigation is warranted.
  • Facial numbness or pain: Tumors in the nasal cavity or sinus area can cause facial numbness, tingling, or pain, which may be mistaken for dental problems.

Why choose Louisiana ENT to treat head and neck cancer?

Our team has set the standard of ENT excellence for over 45 years—where over twenty-five top-tier physicians provide unparalleled medical and surgical care across six locations. As the largest ENT group in Louisiana, our board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists embody a patient-first philosophy, delivering personalized, evidence-based treatment. 

Louisiana ENT is synonymous with a commitment to educating patients, fostering a collaborative environment, and ensuring a warm, attentive experience. Every condition is traced to its roots, ensuring not just treatment but long-term relief, all within a supportive, family-like network. Choose Louisiana ENT for the gold standard in ENT care.

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Head & Neck Cancer FAQs

What are the first steps if I suspect I have symptoms of head & neck cancer?

Schedule an evaluation with our specialists at Louisiana ENT. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment.

What treatments are available for head & neck cancers at Louisiana ENT?

Treatment options range from surgical removal of tumors to radiation therapy, tailored to the individual’s needs.

How do I know if my symptoms are serious?

While some symptoms may be benign, it is important to get a professional evaluation, as they could also indicate cancer.

Can head or neck cancer be cured?

With early detection and comprehensive treatment, many head or neck cancers can be effectively treated.

What support services does Louisiana ENT offer for cancer patients?

We provide holistic care, including treatment planning, recovery support, and rehabilitation services. At Louisiana ENT, we are dedicated to providing meticulous care and advanced treatment options for head and neck cancer patients, backed by our compassionate and experienced team. Your health journey is our priority, and we are with you at every step.

With 6 convenient locations around the Louisiana area, we're never far away.

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