It is a dangerous type of cancer that is becoming more common.
Each year, approximately 12,400 new instances of head and neck cancer are diagnosed in the United Kingdom, compared to approximately 66,000 in the United States.
However, according to the NHS, symptoms might be difficult to detect.
Earlier today, MailOnline revealed that convicted pedophile TV presenter and musician Rolf Harris had died at the age of 93, having already had a private funeral.
The disgraced TV star had been “very ill” with neck cancer that had left him “gurgling” when talking since leaving prison six years ago, close sources said.
About 12,400 new cancer cases are diagnosed each year in the UK, with about 66,000 in the US. But cancer symptoms can be difficult to spot, according to the NHS. These include a sore throat, ear pain, difficulty swallowing and unexplained weight loss. Changes in your voice or experiencing a lump in the neck are other important signs
Earlier today, MailOnline revealed that convicted pedophile TV presenter and musician Rolf Harris (pictured five years ago) recently passed away at the age of 93, with a private funeral already held
In the UK, cancer of the head or neck is the eighth most common, accounting for about three per cent of all new cases.
There are more than 30 areas in the head and neck where tumors can develop.
Nine out of 10 head and neck cancers start in squamous cells, notes Macmillan Cancer Support.
Squamous cells are flat, skin-like cells that line the lining of the mouth, nose, larynx, thyroid gland, and throat.
Symptoms of head and neck cancer vary depending on the area affected.
Here, MailOnline reveals the top six warning signs of neck cancer to watch out for.
A lump in the neck
Often the first noticeable sign of cancer is a swollen — or enlarged — lymph node in the neck.
In most cases, however, swollen lymph nodes are “more likely to be caused by infection than cancer,” advises Macmillan Cancer Support.
But if the lump doesn’t go away within two or three weeks, your GP should refer you to a specialist, he adds.
You may also be referred to a one-stop clinic if that is the only symptom you are experiencing.
There, testing may include an ultrasound of the neck, a biopsy, in which a piece of tissue is removed from the lump, or a nasal endoscopy, in which looks at the back of the mouth, nose and throat.
Persistent sore throat
The symptoms of some neck cancers, including throat cancer, are often similar to symptoms of other much less serious conditions, Cancer Research UK notes.
Symptoms, including a sore throat, can mimic common illnesses such as the common cold or sinusitis.
But according to the NHS, the main signs of cancer in the oropharynx or hypopharynx – two parts of the throat – are a persistent sore throat.
If you have a sore throat or persistent hoarseness, your dentist or general practitioner should refer you urgently to a specialist within two weeks.
Some neck cancers can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food.
Difficulty swallowing, known medically as dysphagia, can be a change that is “hard to accept,” says Cancer Research UK.
It can feel like food is stuck in the throat or that food or liquid is getting into the airway – trachea.
You may also have difficulty chewing or moving the jaw or tongue.
This is because chewing and swallowing involve your lips, teeth, tongue, and the muscles in your mouth, jaw, and throat working together.
The tumor itself can cause the swallowing problems by blocking or narrowing the food passageway.
Unexplained weight loss
Weight loss is a common symptom of many different cancers.
There are several causes of weight loss, and while losing weight is often accompanied by a loss of appetite, it is not the only cause.
Difficulty swallowing and neck pain can prevent people from eating and lead to weight loss.
Studies have also shown unexplained weight loss before treatment is a ‘key’ indicator of people with neck cancer.
“If you’re losing weight for no apparent reason, talk to your doctor,” says Macmillan Cancer Support.
The disgraced TV star had been “very ill” with neck cancer that had left him “gurgling” when talking since leaving prison six years ago, close sources told MailOnline. Pictured is Rolf Harris performing in the early 1970s
Changes in voice
Neck cancer can affect your voice and you may experience changes in your speech.
This can sound quieter or hoarse, among other things.
Sometimes speech can also become slurred if you have difficulty pronouncing certain sounds.
‘It can be very distressing and frustrating to lose your ability to speak or speak less fluently,’ notes Cancer Research UK.
“Adapting to speech changes can take a while. It’s important to take time to take it all in and find new ways of speaking and communicating.’
People with voice changes – such as hoarseness – that do not improve within three weeks should see their GP as soon as possible, the NHS advises.
While it can be a sign of an ear infection, symptoms such as an earache or ear ache should not be dismissed.
Hearing loss or difficulty hearing is a common sign of some neck cancers, including throat cancer, according to the NHS.
You may also experience ringing or persistent ear pain.
Because of the location of neck cancers, they can also cause problems with ear pain as they progress.