Overview Symptoms of head and neck cancer include a growth or sore in the mouth or nose, a lump in the neck, a lingering sore throat, and numbness in the face. These symptoms may also indicate other, less serious conditions. Understanding Your Diagnosis To help with the diagnosis, your doctor will do a thorough exam of your head and neck. Your doctor may use a flexible tube with a light at the end or a small mirror to help see your throat, the base of the tongue, and the larynx. Managing Side Effects Side effects of treatment for head and neck cancer depend on the specific treatment given and can vary from patient to patient. Your cancer specialist will work with you to keep any side effects at a minimum.