Head & Neck Tumors

The term head and neck tumors includes growths of the facial skin, nose, sinuses, mouth, throat, salivary glands, thyroid, parathyroids, and lymph nodes of the neck. These growths may be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Head and neck tumor symptoms may include:

  • A lump in the neck
  • Lesions of the mouth
  • A new mole or changes in an existing one
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain and/or difficulty swallowing

If you experience any of the above symptoms, you should definitely see a doctor–cancer treatment is most effective when a tumor is diagnosed early. If a mass is found, our doctors will perform tests to determine whether the tumor is benign or malignant. This may involve imaging (MRI or CAT scan), fine needle aspiration, biopsy, endoscopy, or other tests. Fortunately, most head and neck tumors turn out to be benign.

When a patient is diagnosed with a head and neck cancer, a team of specialists will typically get involved. Depending on the type of tumor, that team may include radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, dentists, and speech pathologists. Our highly collaborative experts routinely collaborate with other specialists to treat cancer patients.

Treatment options depend on the site and size of the tumor, involvement of other structures, and the patient’s overall health. Once the team of specialists agrees on a treatment plan, options are discussed with the patient and decisions are made based on his or her preferences. Treatment may include one or more modalities, including radiation, chemotherapy, and/or surgery.