Care at Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Head and neck cancers start in the mouth, throat, voice box, nose or sinuses. These cancers include:

Many of these cancers can be cured, especially when they are found early.

Head and neck cancer can be quite complex. The experts at Penn State Cancer Institute are skilled in the latest treatments, technologies and clinical trials. Trust them to give you the best, multi-specialty care available.  

Groups, Classes & Support

Support groups offer an opportunity to connect with other patients, caregivers and families. Learn more about support groups offered at Penn State Cancer Institute.

Research & Clinical Trials

Please enter research and clinical trials information here.

Visit StudyFinder for information on our current clinical trials.

Symptoms, Diagnosis & Outlook

Each type of head and neck cancer has its own specific group of symptoms. Many of these symptoms can also be caused by other health conditions.


Here are some general symptoms and warning signs of head and neck cancer. See your doctor if you notice:

  • A lump or swelling in the neck
  • A sore in the mouth that won’t heal 
  • A red or white patch in the mouth that doesn’t go away
  • Frequent nosebleeds, ongoing nasal congestion or chronic sinus infections that do not respond to treatment
  • Sore throat, hoarseness or voice change
  • Persistent pain in the neck, throat or ears
  • Blood when you spit
  • It’s hard to chew, swallow or move the jaws or tongue
  • Numbness in the tongue or other areas
  • Teeth are loose or dentures no longer fit


If your doctor suspects cancer, he or she may use a physical exam, endoscopy, imaging tests and biopsy to identify and understand it.

  • Endoscopy uses a small flexible camera to examine the nose, mouth, throat and vocal cords.
  • Imaging tests may include CT scans and MRIs to see if cancer has spread to surrounding areas, and PET scans to see if it has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Biopsy uses a sample of tissue to look for cancerous cells under a microscope.

We can help

For more information or to make an appointment,
call the Penn State Health Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery Clinic at