Cancers We Treat

Finding Head & Neck Cancer Early

A doctor looks through his computer for clinical trials research.

Understanding head & neck cancer

Early Detection

Your best defense against cancer is to find it early. Finding cancer before it spreads generally provides more treatment options that are effective. Head and neck cancers are sometimes difficult to catch early because of vague or unseen symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to stay informed of the signs and risks.

At Baptist MD Anderson, we’re committed to MD Anderson’s model of outstanding patient care, research, prevention and education. Our goal is to bring world-renowned cancer care to the Southeast and make cancer history.

Detecting cancer early

Head & Neck Cancer Symptoms

Because head and neck cancer refers to a group of different kinds of cancer, your symptoms may vary. Symptoms are not always easy to observe as these forms of cancer often occur in places you can’t see. Most head and neck symptoms have the same of a common cold or allergies - but last prolonged periods of time or get progressively worse.

Some common symptoms include:

  • Swelling or a sore that does not heal
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Nasal obstruction or persistent nasal congestion
  • Double vision
  • Blood in the saliva or phlegm
  • Loosening of teeth
  • Red or white patch in the mouth
  • Foul mouth odor
  • Frequent nose bleeds and/or unusual nasal discharge
  • Numbness of weakness of a body part in the head and neck region
  • Jaw pain
  • Lump, bump, or mass in the head or neck area
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain or difficulty chewing, swallowing, or moving the jaw or tongue

What is a risk factor?

A risk factor is something that a person may have, based on their genetics, lifestyle choices, conditions or exposure which may increase their risk for developing cancer.

With head and neck cancer, there are no genetic risk factors, but making healthy lifestyle choices can decrease your risk.

Lifestyle risk factors

Here are the risk factors of head and neck cancer:

  • Tobacco Use
  • Alcohol Consumption
  • Sun exposure

Contact Us

If you have any questions, we have you covered. We have nurse navigators available to guide you through every step of your care. Request an appointment or speak to a nurse navigator by phone or online.

An exterior photo of Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Our Location

Head & Neck Cancer Clinic

Within our specialized clinics, we bring together our team of experts to care for you - mind, body and spirit - all under one roof. Each of our clinics are singularly focused on your specific needs and treatment.

Need Directions? The head and neck clinic is located in the main Baptist MD Anderson Cancer Center on Floor 6 of our cancer center.

Explore our campus

Find a Doctor

Our care team brings medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, surgeons and other specialists together for each patient.

For whatever step is next,

Baptist MD Anderson is Here for You

Wherever you are in your journey, we’re here to help you in your fight against cancer. Our team of experts can help you navigate the whirlwind of emotions and decisions through every aspect of your care.

A headshot of Dr. Smith.

Head and neck cancers frequently occur in places that are hard to see or feel. Screenings are a critical part of our battle against cancer.

— RUSSELL SMITH, MD, FACS, HEAD & NECK SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST

Screenings are vitally important because they can help doctors diagnose cancer early, when it is at its most treatable stage.

A headshot of Dr. Smith.

Head and neck cancers frequently occur in places that are hard to see or feel. Screenings are a critical part of our battle against cancer.

— RUSSELL SMITH, MD, FACS, HEAD & NECK SURGICAL ONCOLOGIST

Screenings are vitally important because they can help doctors diagnose cancer early, when it is at its most treatable stage.