Throat cancer symptoms start in your tonsils, throat (pharynx) or larynx (voice box). Depending on what area of your throat cancer affects, it may be called hypopharynx, oropharynx or nasophrynx. Regardless of what type of throat cancer you may think you have this type of head and neck cancer has some general signs and symptoms of throat cancer.
Symptoms for Throat Cancer
General symptoms for throat cancer include a change in your voice. For example, you may notice your voice sounds hoarse. The hoarseness doesn’t improve after two weeks. In addition to voice changes, you may have difficulty swallowing. You may experience a sore throat. This type of sore throat is different than a normal sore throat because it doesn’t improve after a couple weeks even when you take antibiotics. Throat cancer causes you to repeatedly cough. Sometimes you may cough up blood.
Throat cancer symptoms also affect other areas of your body. You could notice you’re losing weight even though you have changed your eating habits. Other changes to your body include a sore that doesn’t heal and lump under the skin. Many people with throat cancer notice a lumps or swelling in their necks.
Pain in the ears is another sign of throat cancer. If you don’t experience ear pain, you may hear ringing in your ears. Besides ear pain, you may have frequent headaches. Cancer in your throat also causes you to have trouble speaking or breathing. For example, when you breathe, you notice a high-pitched, abnormal sound.
Throat Cancer Treatments
If you think you have throat cancer or experience signs and symptoms of throat cancer, consult your doctor. You should never self-diagnose yourself. Instead, you want to undergo examinations which confirm the diagnosis. For instance, your doctor may use a flexible tube with a small camera at the tip to look in your nose or throat. Other examinations consist of CT scans of your neck and head or a chest x-ray.
If your doctor confirms throat cancer, he or she will find the appropriate treatment for throat cancer. Throat cancer treatment depends on many factors like your general health, age and stage of the cancer. More research is needed to find the best threat for throat cancer. However, if you have this form of cancer, you have plenty of throat cancer treatment options. You should discuss the risks and benefits of each treatment of throat cancer.
Treatment of Throat Cancer
Radiation therapy delivers high-energy beams to radiate the throat cancer cells. In the earliest stages of the cancer, radiation therapy may be the only treatment for throat cancer you need. For more advanced throat cancer, your doctor may suggest radiation therapy with a combination of surgery or chemotherapy.
Depending on the location of your throat cancer one of throat cancer treatments is surgery. In the early stages, a surgeon may only remove the surface of your throat or voice cords to remove the superficial cancer. If you have a small tumor, the surgeon may remove the cancerous area of your voice box. The goal is to preserve your ability to talk.
Pharyngectomy is a surgical option to remove all or part of your throat. For instance, the surgeon may remove your voice box. Your surgeon may suggest this throat cancer treatment option if small tumors have spread throughout your throat. The goal of this surgery is to remove the cancer while reconstructing your throat to allow you to swallow. Sometimes the cancer spreads from your throat to your neck. If this happens, surgery to eliminate your affected lymph nodes is an option.
Targeted drug therapy and chemotherapy are other types of throat cancer treatments. Remember, treatment options are always improving as research continues. Thus, it’s important to fight throat cancer knowing that better options are on the way.