Leading Research into Head & Neck Cancer

Oral cancer medical concept as a mouth with malignant disease cells with 3D illustration elements.


If you have a persistent lump, sore throat or voice changes then always contact your GP - early diagnosis is vital.

Common symptoms include:

  • an ulcer in the mouth that doesn’t heal within a few weeks
  • difficulty swallowing, pain or discomfort when chewing or swallowing
  • red or white patches in the mouth or throat that don’t go away within a few weeks
  • changes to your voice e.g. hoarseness, or sounding like you have a cold
  • a constant sore throat and ear pain on one side
  • a painless swelling or lump in the face, mouth or neck

Less common symptoms include:

  • unusual bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • loose teeth for no obvious reason
  • difficulty moving the jaw
  • pain or numbness in the face or jaw
  • weight loss

Lumps in the neck

If a cancer in the mouth or throat spreads from where it started, the first place it will usually spread to is the lymph nodes in the neck. The cancer may begin to grow in the lymph nodes. This can show up as a painless lump in the neck. Enlarged lymph nodes are much more likely to be due to an infection than to cancer, but if you have a lump on your neck that hasn’t gone away within 3-4 weeks, it should be examined by a doctor.

There are many different structures within the delicate head and neck region. Each cancer type is named and treated according to where it starts in the body. Treatments can vary depending on the type of head and neck cancer.


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Every day in the UK, 40 people are diagnosed with head and neck cancer.

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Oracle Cancer Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (1142037). A company limited by guarantee. Registered company in England and Wales (7125497). Registered address: 10 Parsons Green House, 27 Parsons Green Lane, London SW6 4HH.