Doctor warns blocked ears could be a sign of a deadly cancer

Cancer symptoms: Top 14 early signs to look out for

Head and neck cancer is the name for a whole group of cancers that affect those areas.

This includes cancer of the mouth, ears, throat, tongue, oesophagus and tonsils among others.

Around 12,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with head and neck cancers every year, making them collectively the eighth most common type of the disease in the region.

Rates have also increased by a third since the early 1990s, according to Cancer Research UK.

Despite this the symptoms are not as well known as other forms of the disease.

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With this in mind, one cancer expert has revealed some of the little-known symptoms that could give you an early warning.

Doctor Jiri Kubes, from cancer treatment clinic Proton Therapy UK, said: “Despite it being the fastest growing type of cancer in the world, there’s still a lack of awareness around head and neck tumours.

“And this is a real worry as the earlier we can diagnose people, the greater potential for a positive outcome.

“There are some key symptoms you need to look out for and some of them definitely are not on many people’s radar.”

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These include:

  • Persistently blocked ears
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Ulcers in the mouth
  • Tooth pain
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Sore gums
  • A long-lasting sore throat
  • Voice changes or hoarseness.

“Persistently blocked ears, like you might get after diving into a swimming pool, or chronic earache could be a sign there’s cancer in and around that area,” Dr Kubes said.

“Swelling in part of the neck, or some resistance when touching that area of the body, could also be an indicator that there is something wrong.

“Other things to watch out for include ulcers and pain in your teeth, white or red patches in the mouth, and sore gums.

“Most people might shrug it off and put it down to an ulcer.

“A doctor may also dismiss it and send you to the dentist.

“But it could well be a cancerous lesion that’s growing, and it’s easy to miss.

“A sore throat that lasts more than two weeks, or if you have any voice changes or hoarseness, should ring alarm bells.”

If you spot any of these unexplained signs you should speak with your doctor.

According to Dr Kubes, an early diagnosis means there is around a 90 percent chance of surviving head and neck cancer.

But if it isn’t identified until later that rate drops dramatically to a 40 percent chance of survival.

The NHS states there are more than 30 potential head and neck cancers that can develop.

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