A successful treatment of head and neck cancer depends on early detection. Knowing and recognising its signs can save life.Voice change Most cancers in the larynx cause some changes in voice. If you notice voice changes for more than two weeks, see your doctor.
Growth inside mouth If an ulcer or swelling is accompanied by lumps in the neck, see a doctor immediately.Bringing up blood If blood appears in your saliva or phlegm for more than a few days, see the doctor soon. Swallowing problems Cancer of the throat or esophagus (swallowing tube) may make swallowing solid foods and at times liquids too difficult. Continuous earache Constant pain in or around the ear when you swallow can be a sign of infection or tumor growth in the throat. Word of caution Almost 90 percent of head and neck cancers occur after prolonged exposure to specific risk factors.
Use of tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, or snuff) and alcoholic beverages are the most common cause of cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, and tongue. In adults who do not smoke or drink, cancer of the throat can occur as a result of infection with the human papilloma virus (HPV). Remember, cure rates for these cancers could be greatly improved if people would seek medical advice as soon as possible.
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