Throat cancer symptoms can vary in nature, from a simple sore throat to coughing up blood. The key to survival is early treatment so, if one suspects they are experiencing throat cancer symptoms, they should see a doctor immediately. This is especially true for people who have used tobacco products or excessively drank alcohol–particularly in combination.
Some other risk factors include age, diet and a condition known as the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).
Middle age and older men are among those most likely to develop throat cancer. It also has been shown that those with diets low in fruits and vegetables have a greater chance of being diagnosed with throat cancer. Finally, there is an apparent connection between HPV, the sexually transmitted virus best known as a cause of cervical cancer and genital warts, to throat cancer.
An Ohio State University study finds that people with more than six lifetime oral sex partners have the greatest oropharyngeal cancer risk. The “why” is unknown, but it does seem–according to the study–that decades can lapse between an HPV infection and the appearance of cancer.
The following symptoms may be a sign of throat cancer. If experiencing any of these symptoms, and particularly if one is at a higher risk due to conditions or habits, visit a medical practice that specializes in oropharyngeal cancer, like Northeast Georgia Otolaryngology.
Common symptoms of throat cancer:
- Sore throat that does not pass in one to two weeks, even with antibiotics;
- Hoarseness that does not pass in one to two weeks;
- Neck pain (pay special attention to the lymph nodes);
- Swelling in the neck;
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Weight loss;
- Unexplained coughing;
- Coughing up blood; and
- Abnormal, in particular high-pitched, breathing sounds.
Since throat cancer refers to the growth of cancerous tumors on the base of the tongue, walls of the throat, over the larynx or on the tonsils, another–though perhaps obvious–symptom is localized pain, painful swallowing, earache or lump in the neck. These not only may be signs of throat cancer but also can cause otherwise simple, natural functions like swallowing or breathing to become painstakingly difficult.