Throat cancer: the signs and symptoms that should alert you

Throat cancer is a fairly rare cancer that develops in the throat. Signs of throat cancer include voice changes, difficulty swallowing and breathing, and a lump in the neck. There are two main types of throat cancer: cancer of the pharynx and cancer of the larynx. Pharyngeal cancer develops in the pharynx, which is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity. Laryngeal cancer develops in the voice box, or larynx. The larynx is a tubular structure located at the top of the trachea. Here’s more information about the symptoms, signs, and causes of throat cancer. This article also provides information on when to see a doctor.

Symptoms of throat cancer

Symptoms may depend on stage throat cancer. The stage describes the spread and severity of the cancer. Although doctors may classify pharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer slightly differently, they generally use five stages of throat cancer, from 0 to 4. Symptoms may change as the cancer progresses, from early to late stage.

Early stages

Early symptoms and signs of throat cancer may vary depending on the part of the throat it affects. However, some common symptoms include:

– Voice changes: A person’s voice may become weaker or hoarser. She may also have slurred speech or difficulty pronouncing certain words.

– Hoarse voice: A hoarse, strained voice is one of the most common symptoms of prostate cancer. throat.

– Difficulty swallowing: Some people may experience a burning sensation or pain in the throat when swallowing. They may also feel like food is stuck in their throat.

Advanced stages

When throat cancer reached an advanced stage, a person may experience the following symptoms:

– A bump in the neck: This may indicate a swollen lymph node. Stage 3 and 4 cancers can spread to the lymph nodes.

– Weight loss: This may be linked to difficulty swallowing food.

– Difficulty breathing: If throat cancer blocks the airways, it may become difficult for a person to breathe.

A person with throat cancer may also experience

– difficulty moving the tongue or opening the mouth

– bad breath

– chest infections

– persistent white patches on the tongue or lining of the mouth

– persistent cough, which may produce blood

– bleeding nose

– headache

– earache, although this is rare.

It is possible to confuse the signs and symptoms of throat cancer with those of other diseases. It is therefore advisable to consult a doctor if the symptoms of throat cancer do not disappear.

Main causes of throat cancer

Although throat cancer can affect anyone, certain factors can increase the risk of this disease. The main risk factors are:

– human papillomavirus infection

– use of tobacco products

– excessive alcohol consumption

Conditions causing similar symptoms

Several other diseases can cause symptoms similar to those of throat cancer. These conditions are the following

– upper respiratory tract infections

– gastroesophageal reflux disease

– laryngitis


– asthma

A person who is unsure of the cause of their symptoms may want to contact a doctor.

When to See a doctor

A person should see a doctor if they have any of the symptoms of throat cancer for more than three weeks. The doctor will perform tests to determine if the symptoms are due to cancer or another cause.

Diagnosis

There are several tools that a doctor can use to test throat cancer. It usually begins with a physical exam and a discussion of the person’s symptoms. If he suspects throat cancer, he may request a laryngoscopy. The laryngoscope is an instrument that allows the doctor to see inside a person’s throat to identify any abnormalities.

There are three types of biopsy

– a conventional biopsy, which involves cutting out a piece of tissue
– endoscopic biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue from using a flexible tube, or endoscope, inserted through the mouth
– fine needle aspiration, which uses a needle to extract cells from a tumour.

The different stages of cancer

If the biopsy gives a positive result for cancer of the throat, the doctor assigns it a stage which indicates the degree of advancement of the cancer.

The five stages of throat cancer are as follows:

– Stage 0: abnormal cells are present in the lining of the throat.
– Stage 1: A tumor is present and measures 2 centimeters ( cm) or less. It has not spread to a lymph node.

– Stage 2: The tumor measures 2 to 4 cm. It has not spread to a lymph node.

– Stage 3: The tumor is larger than 4 cm or has spread to a lymph node on the same side of the neck. If the cancer has spread to a lymph node, it is less than 3 cm.


– Stage 4: The cancer has spread has spread to multiple lymph nodes or other tissues and organs in the body.

Throat cancer is a rare type of cancer that develops in a small percentage of people each year. Although symptoms may vary, they may include voice changes, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the neck, and difficulty breathing. A doctor should be contacted if you have symptoms of throat cancer for more than three weeks.

Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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