Head & Neck Cancer
Head & Neck Cancer

Over 1,100 men die from these in the UK each year

Head & Neck Cancer

There are about 13,000 new cases of Head and Neck Cancers diagnosed in the UK each year.

Head and Neck Cancers are more on the rarer end of the scale, with about 13,000 cases diagnosed in the UK each year.

There are over 30 types of Head and Neck Cancers, which can include:

  • Mouth
  • Thyroid Gland
  • Larynx
  • Salivary Glands
  • Nose and Sinuses
  • Throat

One of the most common Head and Neck Cancers is Mouth Cancer, with 1 in 50 of all Cancer cases diagnosed being Mouth Cancer. Mouth Cancer is much more common in men than in women – about two thirds of all cases are found in men.

Mouth Cancer is usually found on the tongue, mouth, lips or gums, but it can also sometimes develop on the roof of your mouth, in your saliva glands, tonsils or pharynx (the part of your throat that leads to your windpipe).

It’s not just your GP that can diagnose Mouth Cancer, your dentist will also be able to spot early signs – so guys, it’s worth keeping up with your regular dental check-ups.

4,000 men are diagnosed with a Head and Neck Cancer in the UK every year

60 - 69 is the peak age range for Head and Neck Cancers

1 in 84 lifetime risk of developing Oral Cancer in men

1,100 men die from Head and Neck Cancer in the UK each year


There are a number of known factors that increase the risk of developing Head and Neck Cancers, these can include:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol (especially if you smoke too)
  • The HPV virus (which is the virus that also causes genital warts)
  • Eating a lot of red meat and fried food


There are a number of symptoms that could be signs of a Head and Neck Cancer. The two most common of these are:

  • An ulcer (either in your mouth or on your lip) that doesn’t heal after 3 weeks
  • Constant pain in your mouth

Other common symptoms of Head and Neck Cancer can include:

  • Patches on the lining of your mouth or tongue that are either red or red and white
  • A swelling in your mouth that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Loose teeth (with no obvious reason)
  • Finding it painful to swallow
  • On-going pain in the neck
  • A hoarse voice
  • Changes to your sense of taste
  • Earache


A lot of the symptoms for Head and Neck Cancers could be caused by other less serious conditions. But if you find yourself with any of the above symptoms, and they last for more than three weeks, then visit your GP (as normal infections will usually clear up much sooner).

Keep up with your regular dental check-ups as your dentist is likely to spot any signs of Head and Neck Cancers, especially Oral Cancers in their early stages.

Your GP or dentist will examine you to see whether you could possibly have a form of Head and Cancer. If they suspect it could be a Head and Neck Cancer, you will be referred to a specialist for more testing. A biopsy may be taken, which would need a small sample of the tissue from the affected area in your mouth will be taken to be examined. If the issue is in an easy place for the doctor to reach, then the biopsy will usually be performed under local anesthetic.

Other Cancer Types: