Mr Spraggs is Head and Neck cancer lead in the Hampshire Hospitals NHS trust. He has a particular interest in the treatment of cancers arising from the lining of the upper aerodigestive tract, the thyroid, salivary glands and skin of the Head and Neck region.

Symptoms of concern that may be the first symptom or sign of Head and Neck cancer include

A lump in the neck...

Cancers that begin in the head or neck usually spread to lymph nodes in the neck before they spread elsewhere. A lump in the neck that persists for more than two weeks should be seen as soon as possible. Of course, not all lumps are cancer. But a lump (or lumps) in the neck can be the first sign of cancer of the mouth, throat, voicebox (larynx), thyroid gland, or of certain lymphomas or blood cancers. Such lumps are generally painless and continue to enlarge steadily.

Change in the voice...

Most cancers in the larynx / voice box cause some change in the voice. Any hoarseness or other voice change lasting more than a month needs to be seen and assessed. We can examine your vocal cords easily and painlessly.

A growth in the mouth...

Most cancers of the mouth or tongue cause a sore or swelling that doesn't go away. These sores and swellings may be painless unless they become infected. Bleeding may occur, but often not until late in the disease. If an ulcer or swelling is accompanied by lumps in the neck, seek an urgent appointment.

Swallowing problems...

Cancer of the throat or oesophagus (swallowing tube) may make swallowing solid foods difficult. Sometimes liquids can also be troublesome. The food may "stick" at a certain point and then either go through to the stomach or come back up. If you have trouble almost every time you try to swallow something, you should seek attention.

Persistent earache...

Constant pain in or around the ear when you swallow can be a sign of infection or tumour growth in the throat. This is particularly serious if it is associated with difficulty in swallowing, hoarseness or a lump in the neck. These symptoms are best evaluated as soon is possible.


Click to open the Macmillan Cancer Support website.

For further information on head and neck cancer referrals please visit www.nice.org.uk or download the NHS Referral Guildelines for suspected cancer.

Click to open the Bahno website.

The North Hampshire ENT Partnership is a team of consultants specialising in a wide spectrum of diseases and disorders that affect the Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT) including snoring and sleep disorders, cosmetic and skin surgery.


Our surgeons provide specialist care by drawing from the 50 plus years of combined NHS experience and the many areas of individual specialist expertise available within the partnership.


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