North Richland Hills, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

North Richland Hills and Grand Prairie, TX

How Would I Know if I Had Throat Cancer?

ENT doctor looking for symptoms of throat cancer.

Cancer isn’t something you can self-diagnose. But you may worry about it; Is this sore throat due to allergies or a cold, or is it something more serious? You wouldn’t be the first to lose some sleep with worries like this.

The fact is that only a doctor will be able to accurately diagnose your symptoms. If you think you might be going through the early symptoms of throat cancer, it’s crucial to schedule an appointment.

Throat cancer, what is it?

Throat cancer is a common term that describes a collection of cancers that can appear in various parts of your throat.

Most of these cancers have some similarities. The throat is lined with thin, flat cells referred to as squamous cells. Normally, throat cancers will begin in these cells, and the resulting cancer becomes referred to as a squamous cell carcinoma.

These kinds of cancers appear in two different forms:

  • Pharyngeal cancer: Your pharynx, which is the tissue behind your nose and mouth into your throat, is where these types of cancer begin to form.
  • Laryngeal cancer: This more rare type of cancer begins in your voice box, also called your larynx.

Varieties of pharyngeal cancer

Depending on the location, pharyngeal cancer is separated into three types:

Hypopharyngeal: The lower throat is the starting point of this kind of cancer.

Oropharyngeal: As the syllable “oro” may suggest, oropharyngeal cancer develops in the middle of the throat, including the back of the tongue and some of the roof of your mouth. This type of pharyngeal cancer is the most prevalent.

Nasopharyngeal: The top of your throat just behind the nose is where this cancer developes.

Some throat cancer symptoms

Your physician will be able to inform you of the primary differences between all of these cancers and what they could mean in terms of prognosis and treatment. But you might be wondering how symptoms appear and what they may disclose, especially if you’re at the point where you’re thinking about scheduling an appointment. Here are a few potential symptoms of throat cancer:

  • Chronic hoarse voice.
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
  • A mass in your neck.
  • Pain behind your nose or in your throat.
  • Persistent ear infections.
  • Persistently sore throat.
  • White or red spots in your throat.
  • Hearing loss in one ear.
  • Tinnitus in one ear.
  • Difficulty swallowing, particularly if it’s chronic.

Risk factors for throat cancers

Regrettably, there’s nothing in these symptoms that is completely exclusive to throat cancer.

It’s very common to experience disorders like tinnitus and hearing loss without having any cancer.

That’s why it’s useful to think about risk factors at the same time you’re thinking about symptoms. Your chance of developing throat cancer drastically increases by the following:

  • Acid reflux, or a type of acid reflux called GERD.
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) infections.
  • Substantial alcohol use.
  • Nutritional issues, such as inadequate nutrition or malnutrition.
  • Chewing tobacco or smoking: These activities have been linked to high throat cancer rates (along with other cancers).

The occurrence of these risk factors or a family background of throat cancer can be a potent indication that you should get examined.

Diagnosing throat cancer

Physicians might use one of several methods to help diagnose a possible throat cancer. We may biopsy suspect tissue or order imaging scans of various varieties (such as X-Rays or CT scans). In some instances, endoscopy will be utilized to enable us to get a closer look at what’s going on in your throat. (An endoscopy may be done under general anesthesia.)

In your particular circumstance, we will be able to determine which tests will be required.

What happens after diagnosis?

Depending on what we find, several things may occur. In many cases, what you thought was questionable will turn out to be quite benign. In other cases, we might find something more serious.

If it turns out you are diagnosed with throat cancer, early detection is critical. Your life can be saved by treatment as some forms of throat cancer have a fairly good 5-year survival rate.

But the earlier you detect throat cancer, the higher the chance of a positive outcome. So make an appointment today if you suspect that you or someone you love might be experiencing the symptoms of throat cancer.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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