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Head and neck cancer is the 6th most common cancer.

The term “Head and Neck Cancer” is applied to cancers in the mouth, throat, salivary glands, thyroid gland, nose and sinuses, and advanced cancers of the skin of the face. These cancers often spread to the lymph nodes (or “glands”) in the neck.

Patients with head and neck cancer often present when the tumour is quite advanced.

The symptoms caused by these cancers vary, depending on where the cancer arises.


The most common symptoms are –

      - a painless lump in the neck or in front of the ear.

      - a lump or ulcer in the mouth, for example, on the tongue, gum, or inside the cheek.

      - a persistent white or red patch in the mouth.

      - a one-sided sore throat which can be associated with earache.

      - pain or difficulty with swallowing.

      - a hoarse voice, especially in a smoker.

      - difficult or noisy breathing.

      - a lump or sore on the face.

      - numbness or weakness on one side of the face.

      - one sided blocked nose with bleeding.


Many less serious conditions (apart from cancer) can cause these symptoms, but if they persist for more than 3 weeks, you should consult your doctor.


Head and Neck Support Network

Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation

Head & Neck Cancer Support Aotearoa

Head Neck Cancer Australia


Australian & New Zealand Head Neck Cancer Society


New Zealand Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery


Gillies McIndoe Research Institute  

HPV project


Cancer society

IMAC advice on Gardasil


IMAC advice on HPV

Head and Neck Cancer: Symptoms and Signs:


Click here to see our patient videos

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