Throat cancer: 9 symptoms to watch out for
Throat cancer is one of the most common types of cancer . This is not surprising, considering how popular tobacco use has become from a very early age, the frequency with which oral drugs and unsuitable food are consumed, and the air pollution that is breathed in a large number of large cities and metropolitan areas.
However, is also one of the most curable forms of cancer . Unfortunately, in many cases the progression of the disease has already accelerated a lot when it is discovered, so it is very important to know how to recognise the first symptoms of throat cancer in order to be able to go to the doctor as soon as possible. In this article you can get to know this disease better and learn the basic guidelines on how to detect it.
Early symptoms of throat cancer
Below you can find a list detailing what these signs of cancer are. However, it should be noted that the appearance of some of these symptoms (such as bad breath) does not necessarily confirm the existence of this disease and may be caused by other factors. This means that in many cases there is no reason to be alarmed, but that a medical check-up is necessary in order to get rid of any doubts.
Furthermore, it is imperative that the diagnosis is made exclusively by well-trained medical personnel . Anyone who recognises some of these symptoms in their daily experiences, instead of "self-diagnosis", should go to the doctor, instead of assuming that they have a serious illness.
1. Persistent sore throat
The appearance of the cancer in tissues of the throat area causes pain or discomfort that lasts for days and weeks despite attempts to remedy this with medication.
2. Impaired voice clarity or hoarse voice appearance
One of the symptoms of throat cancer is the evolution of the type of voice towards one that is heard less or is hoarser . This is a symptom produced by the appearance of abnormalities in the areas of the throat where air already modulated by the vocal cords circulates.
3. Frequent cough, sometimes accompanied by blood
Throat cancer can cause irregularities to appear in the airways, and these small elevations and voids often dry up or accumulate organic matter. This causes the part of the throat where they are located to become dry or irritated, which usually produces wounds .
Some people believe that coughing up blood is simply a product of irritated gums, but this is a worrying symptom and should be checked by your doctor as soon as possible.
4. Appearance of lumps
Sometimes, one of the clearest symptoms of throat cancer is the appearance of lumps that can be noticed by palpating the neck. However, if you notice one in the lateral area you have to take into account that it may be an inflamed ganglion and not a tumour, which is anyway a reason to receive medical attention, since it is one of the symptoms that appear when there is an infectious complication nearby. On the other hand, chains of nodes can be used by cancer to travel from one place to another, as if they were tunnels.
5. Difficulty breathing
Airway obstruction is also one of the symptoms of throat cancer.
Sometimes it’s not so much the difficulty in breathing that’s the issue, but rather the appearance of a strange sound when breathing. This can also be a sign that a disturbance in the throat is taking place.
6. Fatigue and headaches
This is a symptom that follows on from the previous one. In addition to being dangerous in itself, difficulty in breathing can produce other symptoms , such as headaches and episodes of tiredness due to lack of oxygen. In some ways, this is one of the symptoms of throat cancer with the greatest potential to wear down our health, as it affects all other body functions through a shortage of oxygenated blood.
7. Bad breath
Halitosis is a symptom that occurs because of difficulties in swallowing saliva that accumulates in the mouth and because of the accumulation of organic matter in the irregularities formed by throat cancer. This is one of the indirect symptoms of throat cancer, since it appears when this disease creates a cumulative effect from normal physiological activity (which includes swallowing saliva to renew it).
Pain in the ears or in the neck , with which the former are connected, are also frequent symptoms of cancer of the throat and larynx. This occurs because the pile of cancer cells presses on adjacent parts of the body.
9. Swallowing difficulties
When throat cancer is somewhat more advanced, it can make simply swallowing food hurt . This, in turn, leads to other complications associated with this symptom of throat cancer, such as weight loss and malnutrition, which in turn make the body less prepared to fight the cancer.
Among these symptoms of throat cancer are some that are more severe and others that are common even in perfectly healthy people.
The latter include bad breath and frequent coughing (without blood), which may depend on the context in specific situations. Other symptoms, such as sore throat or pain when swallowing, are common in episodes of mild, transient illness, while coughing up blood and the appearance of lumps are more worrying.
In any case, the sustained appearance of one or more of these symptoms should alert us and we should go to a doctor’s office as soon as possible in order to rule out any type of illness.