This type of cancer compromises the health of the pharynx, larynx, esophagus or tonsils, due to the abnormal growth of its cells.
There are early symptoms associated with throat cancer that we should pay attention to. Although some of them may be a sign of other diseases , their concurrence and/or recurrence is something that we cannot ignore.
According to studies , the worldwide incidence of laryngeal cancer is estimated at 3.9 per 100,000 inhabitants , with an overall mortality close to 2.0. Although there are countries like Spain where the figures are higher.
Prevention strategies as well as timely diagnosis are considered key to reducing said mortality. However, the initial symptoms of throat cancer may be nonspecific. Hence the importance of knowing them.
Throat cancer: what is it and what causes it
Throat cancer is a disease that refers to malignant tumors that form in the area of the pharynx, larynx or tonsils; that is, everything we understand as throat.
Although it can affect anyone, you are more likely to develop it when you use tobacco or suffer from an attack of the human papillomavirus (HPV).
Knowing the risk factors and certain symptoms can help to go to a consultation on time. In this sense, it is clear that early detection is crucial to increase the chances of successful treatment.
In order to obtain an early diagnosis, it is very important to know the possible initial symptoms of throat cancer and to see a doctor for an evaluation.
Early Symptoms of Throat Cancer
1. Hoarseness or voice changes
Abnormal cell growth in the throat can start in the vocal cords ; For this reason, one of the first manifestations of the disease is noticeable changes in the tone of the voice.
Prolongation of hoarseness for more than three weeks or sudden change in voice are sufficient reasons to consult a specialist. Sometimes its origin is infections in the area or problems associated with smoking; Despite this, we must consider that it may be due to throat cancer.
2. Sore throat
It is difficult to consider a simple sore throat as a symptom of throat cancer. Often this discomfort is the result of an infection or common disease of the respiratory system. However, when it becomes persistent or appears intermittently, it is essential to go to the doctor to find out why it originates.
The appearance of tumors in the area can lead to the recurrence of this symptom . In fact, it manifests itself more intensely when you swallow or strain your voice.
3. Constant bad breath
When bad breath doesn’t go away with good oral hygiene habits, there may be an underlying, unattended condition causing it. Although cancer alarms should not always be turned on, this symptom should not be ruled out either.
Patients who develop this disease often have great difficulty controlling the bad smell in their mouth . This persists even if they use rinses and special products.
4. Choking sensation
The feeling of suffocation, also known as dyspnea or shortness of breath, is a symptom that can alert an obstruction in the respiratory tract . It appears as a result of a serious infection in the system, but also due to the presence of tumors.
5. Lumps on the neck
The appearance of lumps in the neck can various causes. In this particular case, it usually happens because the tumor manages to spread to the lymph nodes located in the throat area. This signal should be considered a reason for immediate medical consultation , since it originates when the cancer begins to worsen.
According to experts from the American Cancer Association , other possible signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal and oral cavity cancer include:
Lumps or thickening on the cheek.
mass in the neck.
6. Need to cough
Patients with respiratory diseases or allergies often have recurrent coughs due to the immune system ‘s response to the presence of foreign agents.
When a problem occurs in the throat, a tube that is part of the respiratory system, this symptom can be more chronic. At first it manifests as a dry cough, accompanied by irritation. Later, when the tumor progresses, it can ulcerate and cause bleeding.
7. Noisy breathing
When the tumor is not intervened in a timely manner, the cancer cells continue to divide and continue to cause serious damage to the tissues in the area. As a consequence, an obstruction of the respiratory ducts occurs, manifesting itself with a strange sound every time the person inhales .
This noise is known as “laryngeal stridor” and is the result of the narrowing of the opening between the vocal cords. If not treated as soon as possible, the cancer can block it completely and lead to complications such as suffocation and death.
8. Difficulty swallowing
Most patients with throat cancer begin to experience significant weight loss due to difficulty chewing, swallowing, or swallowing food.
The presence of tumors narrows the opening of the esophagus and causes food to get stuck when swallowed. In turn, muscle weakening occurs that increases episodes of acid reflux.
9. Other possible early symptoms of throat cancer
In addition to those mentioned, some other early symptoms of throat cancer may occur, such as the following:
- Sores that do not heal,
- Weight loss.
Doubts? Do not forget to consult with your doctor!
If you have several of these early symptoms of throat cancer and have concerns about your health, see your doctor for an evaluation as soon as possible.
In order to determine it, the doctor will recommend performing an analysis with an endoscope or imaging tests, among others. The professional will tell you if it is throat cancer or not and what would be the best treatment option for your case.