There are many forms of cancer, but throat cancer is perhaps one of the most dangerous. This is why what you need to know about throat cancer is mainly that it is incredibly serious and that it requires treatment as soon as possible. While early detection is key to increasing your chance of survival in all cancer cases, this is true even more so in the case of throat cancer.
What You Need to Know About Throat Cancer:
The first thing is that you have to work out whether you are at risk of developing the cancer. Those who are most at risk are:
- Smokers, including passive smokers
- People with chronic acid reflux
- Those over the age of 45
- People with a family history of throat cancer
- African American
Throat cancer can affect any part of the larynx (the voice box), the vocal cords, and the pharynx. In this country, between 5,000 and 7,000 individuals die of the disease each year. Each year, around 25,000 new cases are diagnosed, making it a relatively rare form of cancer.
What you need to know about throat cancer also includes the symptoms. In fact, being aware of all the things that could point towards you having this type of cancer will make it far more likely that you can detect it on time as well. Early diagnosis is truly a life saver. The problem, however, is that the early symptoms of throat cancer tend to be similar to various other, more common issues. They include:
- Chronic earaches, which some people believe is a simple infection or perhaps a flu
- Chronic sore throat, which doesn’t respond to treatment
- Difficulty speaking
- A dry throat
- Feeling like there is a lump in the neck, throat, or mouth
- Sounding hoarse
- Facial numbness and, sometimes, paralysis
- Sores on the mouth and tongue
As throat cancer progresses, many of the above symptoms become more pronounced. Additionally, it becomes more common for people to experience significant pain while swallowing, sometimes making it almost impossible. In fact, it is not unheard of for people to be unable to swallow something as gentle as liquids. Other signs to be aware of include:
- Unexplained and sudden weight loss, which may be caused partially by loss of appetite
- Bleeding from the throat
- Blood in mucus, phlegm, or sputum
If you experience any of these symptoms, whether on their own or together, you should seek medical attention. None of these symptoms necessarily mean that you have throat cancer, but they do mean that something isn’t quite right and you should get treatment for that. Leaving illnesses and diseases untreated, after all, will only make them worse. Furthermore, people with throat cancer have the best chances of survival if it is caught early enough for treatment. This is true for all forms of cancer, but particularly with cancer of the throat due to the difficulties in operating on and removing parts of such a delicate and important area of the human anatomy.