Throat Cancer

5 February, 2020


Throat cancer starts developing in the pharynx (throat), larynx (voice box) or nasopharynx (upper section of the throat just behind your nose). Throat cancer even encompasses other different types of cancer like oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and glottic cancers.

However, Here we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms and causes of throat cancer.

It is not easy to detect throat cancer at an early stage, as the signs and symptoms indicate an only mere cold or throat infection in the beginning. The early signs and symptoms of throat cancer vary as per the location of a tumor – it can begin growing in larynx, pharynx, or nasopharynx. Moreover, other health conditions may also cause similar symptoms as throat cancer.

The most basic symptoms of laryngeal or throat cancer are a sore throat or voice changes that may include weak voice and hoarseness that persists longer than two to three weeks.

Early Signs and Symptoms

The early signs and symptoms of throat cancer differ according to the location of a tumor. However, the general signs and symptoms of throat cancer are:

1. A Sore Throat

If you feel persistent pain in your throat that seems to not cure for a long time period, it can be a sign of throat cancer. You need to it checked if you feel that a sore throat is persistent even after taking right medications or treatment.

2. Voice Changes

Throat cancer is likely to affect your voice and you can notice a difference in your usual voice. You may observe your voice has become husky or sound as if you have cold all the time. You may even experience trouble pronouncing certain words or sounds.


3. Trouble Swallowing

Another common sign of throat cancer is when you have trouble swallowing your food. Throat cancer causes a burning sensation when swallowing food. You’ll feel as if food is sticking in your throat while swallowing food. It can also be due to any other throat infection, but in the case of throat cancer, the problem seems to be persistent for a long duration.

4. Lump Formation in the Neck

You may develop a lump in your neck that is caused by enlargement of the lymph node. Formation of lymph nodes and swelling in the neck are some common symptoms of throat cancer. Cancer usually develops a lump that slowly grows bigger. It is somehow a sure indicator of throat cancer or tumor because no usual throat infection would cause your neck to form a lump.

5. Weight Loss

Sudden weight loss is another common symptom of throat cancer. Weight loss with painful or troublesome swallowing of food is one of the sure signs of throat cancer. Initially, you may not realize that the weight loss is due to throat cancer, as any other infection or disease may also cause unintentional weight loss. But if it combined with the aforementioned signs or symptoms, you need to see your doctor immediately.

6. Pain

Referred pain to ear can also be a presenting symptoms


Causes of Throat Cancer

Throat cancer grows in thin, flat cells lining the voice box and throat when cells start developing genetic mutations. These genetic mutations cause the uncontrollable cell growth. The increased number of cells accumulates in the form of a tumor in your throat. However, the reason behind these genetic mutations, which cause throat cancer, is not clear.

Throat cancer is a complicated health condition that is also associated with specific types of human papillomavirus infections (HPV). Although HPV is one of the sexually transmitted viruses, this infection is also one of the major risk factors of specific types of oropharyngeal cancers, reportedly.

Throat cancer is also linked to other types of cancers. Some patients are also diagnosed with throat cancer when it spreads from other types of cancers like esophageal cancer, bladder cancer, or lung cancer at the same time.

While the actual causes of throat cancer are not known, but the following factors are likely to cause throat cancer in some people:

  • Smoking / Chewing
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Genetic Syndromes
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
  • Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)
  • Exposure to toxic fumes also leads to a bigger risk of developing throat cancer

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