Diagnosing head and neck cancer

If your GP or dentist thinks that your symptoms could be caused by cancer, or they are not sure what the problem is you will generally be referred to a specialist ENT clinic at your local hospital.

If your only symptom is a lump in your neck, you can get a rapid diagnosis at a one stop neck lump clinic. At this clinic the team will carry out an endoscopy, take a biopsy of the lump and carry out an x-ray.

For a general referral you are likely to see an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist surgeon.

Types of tests

Further tests

If tests have shown that you have a diagnosis of head and neck cancer, the team will arrange for further tests to establish the exact location and staging of the cancer so a treatment plan can be established.  Depending on the complexity of the head and neck cancer you may be referred to a specialist head and neck unit.


In this section

Up to 70% of head and neck cancers are now due to the HPV virus

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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: 80 Coombe Road, New Malden KT3 4QS