Throat cancer is the cancer that forms in the throat. Throat cancer symptoms presented depends on which part of the throat is affected. Throat cancer are of 2 types namely: pharyngeal (which forms in the pharynx- the tube that runs to the windpipe from the throat) and laryngeal cancer (which forms in the larynx or the voice box).
Statistics have it that 1.1 percent of all adults will have throat cancer during their lifetime as it is one of the uncommon forms of cancer, also throat cancer is common in men than women. About 2400 new cases are documented yearly in the UK from the throat cancer symptoms presented.
The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection has been indicated as one of the risk factors for throat cancer as well as: Tobacco smoking, alcohol consumption, vitamin A deficiency, exposure to environmental hazards such as asbestos and radioactive chemicals.
The symptoms are also very similar to that of upper respiratory tract infections, upper digestive tract and lung cancer. Throat cancer like most cancers are hard to spot at early stage as the signs of throat cancer do not present at the earliest stage. One of the earliest signs of throat cancer is changes in voice that refuse to resolve within months.
Throat cancer may easily spread to secondary sites such as the lungs, bladder and the esophagus due to their proximity.
Symptoms of throat cancer
The symptoms of throat cancer defers depending on the site it has spread to, how long you have been seeing the signs. The following list below details some of the throat cancer symptoms:
1. Painful ore throat
Persistent sore throat is one of the hallmarks of throat cancer. The throat becomes inflamed with time thus the pain that accompanies sore throat, this may be accompanied with a feeling of massive lump in the throat and regular throat discomfort.
This is a common occurrence with throat cancer, as the throat becomes persistently irritated.
2. Swallowing food and water becomes difficult
As throat cancer progresses, swallowing fluids and foods becomes difficult due to the painful experience that accompanies such actions.
3. Pulmonary embolism
Possibility of blood clots forming in the lungs and the surrounding cavities is very high. This is common if throat cancer has spread to the lung as a secondary site.
4. Cough with regular sputum (occasionally with blood)
Persistent irritation of the throat may lead to regular cough. The longer it progresses the more the sputum production.
Wheezing is common in patients who has there pharynx affected by the cancer. This may be seen while coughing.
6. Lymph nodes become swollen
Lymph node enlargement under the armpits, neck and groin area often is a sign of weakened immune system and probable presence of infections or carcinogenic cells in the body. This may be accompanied by geometric increase in the number of white blood cells.
7. Unintended weight loss
This is common with most cancer development, eating balanced diets without any corresponding growth and improvement in the body usually calls for a concern.
8. Hoarse voice
If throat cancer starts next to the voice box, you may experience hoarse or croaky voice which refuses to go. If this persists over time do check with your doctor what the underlying cause may be.
9. Breathing difficulties
As the cancer grows into the larynx, breathing may be difficult.
Throat cancer symptoms usually are easy to spot but only when in the advance stage especially when you cough out blood, it is often a sign of something very fatal.