Thanks for writing in.
1. Seems they are lymph nodes. Red, painful nodes indicates kind of inflammation in oral cavity / ear-nose-throat / head / scalp
2. Do you have caries of tooth? discharge in your ears? dandruff? These can cause such lymphadenitis
3. Non-tender (painless) nodes may be a sign of cancer. But such nodes don't wax & wane. So mostly you are not suffering from any cancer.
4. It is advisable to get an ENT consultation to get your throat & oral cavity examined, which are the usual causes for such nodes & proceed further.
5. Salt water gargling, good oral hygiene
, dandruff control, may be short course of antibiotics will be helpful to you.
Get well soon,