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Neck Cancer Symptoms

Neck cancer doctor examining a patientThe symptoms of neck cancer tend to vary based on the size and extent of the tumor. Small, early-stage cancers may not be large enough to see or feel, while larger tumors can cause significant discomfort or develop into a palpable mass.

Neck cancer symptoms also may vary based on the part of the neck in which the tumor develops. For instance:

  • Tumors that develop in the trachea (windpipe) can cause shortness of breath, noisy or raspy breathing, a chronic cough (with or without blood in the sputum), and frequent upper respiratory infections.
  • Tumors that develop in the upper part of the esophagus can cause neck pain and heartburn, and can also make it difficult to swallow.
  • Tumors that develop in the pharynx (the back of the mouth, base of the tongue, back of the palate and the uvula) can cause persistent headaches, nasal congestion, swelling in the neck, nosebleeds, a ringing sensation in the ears, facial pain, and difficulty hearing.
  • Tumors that develop in the salivary glands can cause swelling under the chin or behind the ears, as well as difficulty moving one side of the face (facial nerve palsy).

These symptoms don’t always indicate cancer. However, if any of these symptoms persist for more than a few days, they should be reported to a medical professional who can provide a prompt diagnosis.

If you have a neck cancer diagnosis, the experienced ENT oncologists at Tampa General Hospital can assemble a customized treatment plan incorporating the newest and most effective treatments for the patient’s specific type of cancer, drawing on our extensive, highly specialized experience.

To schedule an appointment to discuss your symptoms with an oncologist who specializes in neck cancer, use our PhysicianFinder  or call (813) 844-2200.