You can’t self-diagnose cancer. It’s something to be concerned about. Is it a sore throat due to allergies, a cold, or something more serious? This is not a common problem.
Only a doctor can diagnose your symptoms accurately. It is essential to make an appointment if you suspect you might have throat cancer.
What is throat cancer?
Commonly referred to as throat cancer, it is a group of cancers that can form in different parts of the throat.
Many of these cancers share some commonalities. Squamous cells, which are thin, flat cells found in the throat, are common. These cells are the most common cause of throat cancer. They are also known as squamous cell carcinoma.
There are two types of these cancers:
- Pharyngeal Cancer: These types of cancer start in the pharynx. This tissue between your nose and your mouth connects to your throat.
- Laryngeal Cancer: This form is less common. It is a cancer of the voice box or larynx.
There are many types of pharyngeal carcinoma
Depending on where you live, there are three types of pharyngeal carcinoma:
Hypopharyngeal This type of cancer begins in the lower part of the throat.
Oropharyngeal Cancer: The middle of the throat is where oropharyngeal carcinoma begins. This includes the back of your tongue, and some of the roof. This is the most common type of pharyngeal carcinoma.
Nasopharyngeal: This type of cancer starts near the top, just below the nose.
What are the signs and symptoms of throat cancer?
Your doctor will be able to determine the main difference between these types of cancer. He or she can also formulate treatment plans and prognosis. You might be curious about the symptoms and how they may indicate cancer. These are possible signs of throat cancer.
- Consistent difficulty swallowing
- Chronic ear infections
- Your throat may have white or red spots.
- Pain in your throat or behind your nose
- Constantly sore throat
- You feel a lump in your neck.
- Lymph nodes swelling in the neck
- Tinnitus is just one ear
- One ear can cause hearing loss
- A hoarse voice is a sign of chronic hoarseness.
Factors that increase the risk of throat cancer
These symptoms are not, however, exclusive to throat cancer.
It is quite common for hearing loss and tinnitus to occur without any form of cancer.
It is important to consider risk factors while you are assessing symptoms. The following factors can dramatically increase your risk of developing throat carcinoma:
- Acid reflux or a type of acid reflux is known as GERD.
- Infections are caused by HPV (human papillomavirus).
- Smoking or chewing tobacco: These habits have been linked to throat cancer and other cancers.
- Excessive alcohol consumption.
- Nutritional problems, such as malnutrition or poor nutrition.
These risk factors, or a family history of throat cancer, can all be strong indicators that you need to get checked.
Recognizing throat cancer
Doctors can diagnose throat cancer using a variety of methods. You might have to biopsy any suspicious tissue. We may also order different imaging scans (X-Rays and CT scans). Sometimes we will need to have a better look at your throat so that an endoscopy might be performed. An endoscopy may be done under general anesthesia.
We will help you determine which tests are required based on your specific circumstances.
What happens next after the diagnosis?
The results of the diagnosis will determine what happens next. In many cases, the tissue that you initially thought was suspicious will be benign. In other cases, however, you may find something more serious.
Early diagnosis is crucial if you have been diagnosed with throat cancer. The 5-year survival rate for some forms of throat cancer is high, so it’s important to get treated immediately.
The better your chances of getting a positive outcome from throat cancer are if you get it diagnosed early. If you think you might have throat cancer, schedule an appointment immediately.