Understanding head & neck cancer
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
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.
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.
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The right treatment starts with the right diagnosis.
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Care for your mental, spiritual health, too.
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.