Health Questions and Answers

Question: What are the presenting symptoms of head and neck cancer?

Answer:

PRESENTING SYMPTOMS OF HEAD AND
NECK CANCER
Site
Symptoms
Oral cavity: lips, buccal mucosa, alveolar ridge,
retromolar trigone, floor of mouth, hard palate,
anterior two thirds of tongue
Mass, ulcer, leukoplakia, erythroplasia bleeding, pain,
loose teeth, earache, trismus, halitosis
Larynx: supraglottic (false cords, arytenoid),
glottic (true vocal cords), subglottic
Hoarseness, bleeding, sore throat, thyroid cartilage
pain
Pharynx: nasopharynx, oropharynx, soft palate,
uvula, tonsil, base of tongue, hypopharynx, pyriform
sinus
Sore throat, earache, epistaxis, nasal voice, dysphagia,
masses, hearing loss, blood- streaked saliva
Maxillary sinus Sinusitis, epistaxis, headache
All sites Bleeding (oral or nasal), neck nodes, pain at site of
tumor or referred pain

Reference:

Holland JF, Frei E, et al (eds): Cancer Medicine, 6th ed. New York, BC Decker,
2003.

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