Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck depend on which area the cancer is located in, such as the lips and mouth, salivary glands, sinuses and nasal cavity, nasopharynx (nose and throat), or throat and larynx (voice box).
Squamous cell carcinoma of the lips and mouth may appear as a lump, open sore, or area of bleeding, or a red or white patch inside the mouth, on the lip, or tongue. Additional symptoms may include earache, persistent sore throat, discomfort when chewing or swallowing, and swollen jaw.
Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the throat and larynx may include hoarseness, discomfort or difficulty when swallowing (dysphagia), ear, jaw, or neck pain, a neck lump or swelling, or a sense of something being stuck in the throat.
The most common symptom of squamous cell carcinoma of the salivary gland is a painful lump in the cheek, on the tongue, on the roof of the mouth, or under the chin that grows slowly, or numbness or paralysis of the muscles in the face.
Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the nasopharynx (nasal cavity and throat) may include painless, swollen glands (lymph nodes), headaches, persistent stuffy nose, frequent nosebleeds, frequent ear infections, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, trouble speaking or breathing, pain when swallowing, and sore throat.
Symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma of the sinuses and nasal cavity include persistent stuffy nose, pain in the upper teeth, blocked sinuses, chronic sinus infections that do not clear with antibiotics, numbness or pain in the face, forehead, or between the eyes of behind the cheeks, a bulging eye, and nosebleeds.