Head and neck cancer

A rare group of cancers that can originate in any tissue or organ within the head or neck. If you are diagnosed with head and neck cancer, you will have immediate access to our world-leading consultants and state-of-the-art hospitals

Types of head and neck cancer

Larynx cancer

Most cancers of the larynx are squamous cell carcinomas. This means the cancer starts in the thin, flat cells that line the larynx (voice box).

Oral cancer

Oral cancer can start anywhere in the mouth. It includes the lips, tongue, gums, inside lining of the cheeks and lips, floor and roof of the mouth and behind the wisdom teeth.

Thyroid cancer

The thyroid is a small gland in the neck. The first symptom of thyroid cancer is usually a painless lump in the front of your neck, which slowly gets bigger.

Need to know

  • Symptoms of head & neck cancer icon plus

    Symptoms of head and neck cancer may include:

    • persistent mouth ulcers
    • pain when swallowing or chewing and/or trouble swallowing
    • persistent sore throat and/or earache affecting one side of the body
    • a lump or swelling in the neck or mouth
    • difficulty speaking or breathing
    • tooth loss
    • pain of the upper jaw or face
    • a continuing sore throat and/or blocked nose or nose bleeds
    • changes or difficulty in hearing
    • red or white areas that form on the tongue or lining of the mouth
    • swelling of singular or multiple lymph nodes

    There are many other reasons that can cause these symptoms. However, it is important that you visit your consultant for screening as soon as symptoms appear.

  • Screening and diagnosis icon plus

    We offer a number of investigations and tests to confirm a diagnosis of head and neck cancer, including:

    • blood tests
    • biopsies
    • fine needle aspiration cytology
    • scans such as OPG X-ray, CT, MRI and PET

    If you are diagnosed with head and neck cancer you will have immediate access to our world-class consultants and state-of-the-art facilities.

  • Treatment options icon plus

    Your consultant will talk you through your treatment options, which may include:

    • surgery
    • chemotherapy
    • radiotherapy
    • molecular profiling

    Your consultant will work closely with other leading specialists as part of a multidisciplinary team to design a treatment plan based on your specific type of head and neck cancer.

Sue's story

Hear from Sue who came to see Mr Ricard Simo, Consultant Head & Neck Surgeon, after she found a lump in her neck.

Find a head and neck cancer specialist

Our oncologists and cancer surgery consultants work together with specialist nurses and diagnostic imaging teams to help make a diagnosis as early as possible.  

Our locations

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

Contact our experienced cancer team

Any questions about our cancer services or treatment? We're happy to advise you or help you book an appointment in London, Birmingham or Manchester with a cancer specialist consultant.

Call us on 

020 7079 4344
This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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