Cancer is a very aggressive disease. When a cancer cell starts to appear in one area of your body, it usually spreads itself to other parts of the body. Some types of cancer can be prevented from further spreading, or can even be removed completely, if they are detected and treated early. One such kind of cancer is throat cancer. If the signs are detected while the cancer is still in its early stage, you have better chances of recovering from it. During its early stage, throat cancer cells first appear on the vocal cords. Then, they start to replicate and spread to other nearby areas such as the larynx, tonsils, and tongue.
To help you know more about throat cancer, here are some of the signs and symptoms. This information is for educational purposes only and you should not consider this a replacement for a valid assessment from your doctor.
- Sore throat. Although a sore throat can be caused by many things, it is also usually one of the first symptoms of throat cancer. A persistently sore throat or a persistently hoarse voice may seem harmless, but it can be an early symptom.
- Pain. Some symptoms of throat cancer are uncomfortable. Some examples are coughing and wheezing. Some are uncomfortable and painful. For example, painful breathing or shortness of breath and painful or difficult swallowing. Ear pain and headaches are also some of the painful symptoms experienced by those who have throat cancer. Seek your doctor's advice right away if you experience such discomforts because these can be fatal, especially if the cancer mass has grown large enough to obstruct your airways.
- Blood. When you see blood where it's not supposed to be, you can be sure that something's wrong. When you cough up blood, it doesn't necessarily mean you have throat cancer, although blood in the sputum is a symptom of throat cancer. It is also common for some other colored substances or unusual clumps to appear in your saliva if your throat is developing a cancer.
- Sudden weight loss. If you have not shifted to a new low-calorie diet, or have not increased your physical activity, you ought to be concerned when you suddenly lose weight for no specific reason. Sudden weight loss is always a tell-tale sign of health anomalies such as throat cancer. Always be wary about losing weight that you did not intend to occur.
- Lymph node swelling. When cancer cells begin to multiply in your body, your body's defense system will also start to react to fight back the invasion. As a result, your lymph nodes will appear enlarged or swollen. If the lymph nodes located on the outside of the neck appear or feel swollen, you must see your physician right away.
As a general rule, you should avoid self-diagnosis. The information presented here is for educational purposes only and should not be used to diagnose yourself. It is important that you see your physician whenever you start seeing the signs and symptoms described here so that your doctor can perform more conclusive tests.