Red flag signs and symptoms

According to Mr Patel, red flag signs and symptoms to watch out for when assessing patients with a potential head and neck cancer diagnosis can include:

  • A new neck lump that persists for three or more weeks
  • Change in the voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • One-sided nasal block or obstruction
  • One-sided ear pain, with a normal ear examination
  • Any changes in the mouth such as oral ulcers, or swelling, or white or red patches that persist for more than three weeks.



Video: How not to miss head and neck cancer — red flag symptoms and signs to look out for


Resources for General Practitioners

The MercyAscot Head and Neck Service has created a range of useful educational resources about head and neck cancer for GPs to use in their clinical setting, which can be found below.

These include webinars, podcasts and e-learning modules to help GPs identify red flag signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer, and when to urgently refer patients to specialist care.

Webinars & podcasts

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Complete SR e-learning modules

View modules

One-stop diagnostic clinics for patients with head and neck conditions

Our one-stop diagnostic clinics provide fast access for patients from early diagnosis, through to treatment and recovery - removing the need for multiple appointments.

Neck Lump Clinic

A streamlined diagnostic service for neck lumps

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Rhinology Clinic

MercyAscot Head and Neck Service’s rhinology clinic is a specialist-led service offering comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for patients with benign rhinological and nasal disorders.

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Salivary Gland Clinic

A multi-disciplinary team with expertise in the assessment, diagnosis and management of patients with salivary gland disorders

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What to expect: The Neck Lump Clinic patient experience

The MercyAscot Neck Lump Clinic provides an on-the-spot diagnostic service for patients with worrying neck lumps with a pathologist on-site (in addition to the head and neck surgeon and radiologist). The clinic is pivotal in early recognition, diagnosis and rapid treatment of head and neck malignancy, providing a diagnosis and treatment plan for patients in a 45 minute appointment.

Find out more about MercyAscot Head and Neck Service

Find out more about our comprehensive care for patients with head and neck disorders

More information




1. Head and Neck Cancer landscape in Asia-Pacific. Novotech — The Asia Pacific CRO. 2021. View reference. Accessed July 2023.
2. Ministry of Health. View reference. Accessed July 2023.