Everyone is at risk for throat cancer, a general term for cancer of the pharynx or larynx. X Research the source Although throat cancer is relatively rare, you should know the signs. X Research the source If you experience any of the symptoms, see a doctor immediately. Doctors can confirm the diagnosis of throat cancer and develop a treatment plan.
Recognizing Throat Cancer
Know your risk of developing throat cancer. The cause of throat cancer is a genetic mutation in the cells. However, the trigger for this mutation is not known with certainty. Knowing the risk factors for throat cancer can help you recognize the symptoms so you can seek diagnosis and treatment early on.
Men are more at risk of developing throat cancer than women.
Your risk of developing throat cancer increases with age.
Smokers and those who chew tobacco are at a higher risk of developing throat cancer.
Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the risk of throat cancer.
In fact, alcohol consumption and cigarette use are major risk factors for throat cancer.
Infection with HPV ( human papilloma virus ) can make you more susceptible to throat cancer.
Lack of fruit and vegetable intake can increase your risk of developing throat cancer.
Acid reflux disease, or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also increase the risk of throat cancer.
Recognize the symptoms. Most throat cancer symptoms are non-specific. So you have to be very careful about observing the area of u200bu200bthe oral cavity. Recognizing the symptoms of throat cancer allows doctors to diagnose and provide early treatment. Symptoms of throat cancer include:
Voice changes, which may cause your voice to become hoarse or unable to speak clearly.
Problems with swallowing.
Pain or lump that doesn’t go away on its own or after using over-the-counter medications.
Observe for lumps and abnormalities in the throat. An abnormal growth or lump can be a sign of cancer. Examining the throat may be able to help you detect any abnormal growths.
Take your tongue out and observe for any lesions or bumps on its surface.
Examining the inside of your mouth or throat may be more difficult, but try to open your mouth as wide as possible to observe the inside. Turning on a flashlight might also help you detect anything abnormal.
Check your mouth and throat regularly for a normal appearance.
Watch for changes in the appearance of the throat, such as the color or texture of the skin. A growth that resembles a wart or ulcer may indicate throat cancer.
Make an appointment with your doctor if you detect any of these signs. Regular dental check-ups can also help monitor changes in the condition of your mouth and throat.
Watch for pain or bleeding. Watch for symptoms of pain or long-term bleeding in the mouth and throat. These symptoms may signal a serious condition such as throat cancer, especially if it doesn’t go away.
Observe for persistent pain in the throat, especially when swallowing.
Watch for bleeding from lesions, growths, or lumps.
Talk to your partner. Have your partner examine your throat or ask if they have detected any symptoms of throat cancer. Your partner may be able to recognize symptoms or differences in the oral cavity faster than you.
Seeking Diagnosis and Treatment
Visit a doctor. If you detect any of the signs or symptoms of throat cancer and/or are at risk of developing the disease, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. If detected early, throat cancer can be treated with a chance of cure between 50-60%, according to the stage when the doctor managed to diagnose it.
You may consult a general practitioner or an ENT specialist (ear, nose, and throat). If necessary, the doctor will refer you to a doctor or other specialist.
Your doctor will most likely examine your mouth and throat. Your doctor may also review your medical history that may influence your risk factors, such as your lifestyle and previous illnesses.
One of the tests you may undergo is observation with an endoscope.
Get tested to confirm the diagnosis. If your doctor suspects you have throat cancer, he or she may order you to undergo additional tests. Examinations such as a biopsy or endoscopy can help confirm the diagnosis of throat cancer.
The most commonly used examination for throat cancer is endoscopy. In this examination, the doctor will insert a small pair of binoculars called an endoscope into your throat or voice box, then observe how it looks through the recorded video.
Your doctor may also perform a biopsy by taking cells or tissue from your throat and testing them in a laboratory.
In some cases, the doctor will also ask you to undergo a scan such as a CAT scan or an MRI. This scan can help doctors determine the spread of throat cancer.
If the test results confirm throat cancer, you may be asked to undergo further tests to determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
Follow-up examinations include a lymph node biopsy, or a more in-depth body scan.
Get the treatment. If the doctor finds throat cancer, he will develop a treatment plan based on the extent of the spread of the disease. There are several treatment options that are quite successful in dealing with throat cancer if diagnosed early.
Doctors will provide treatment according to the stage of cancer development when diagnosed. You should discuss treatment options and what you are comfortable with with your doctor.
The four main treatment options for fighting cancer are: radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and targeted drug therapy.
Early-stage throat cancer will usually only be given radiation therapy. In this therapy, high-energy rays from sources such as X-rays are emitted to kill cancer cells.
The surgery required can be as simple as removing cancer cells from the throat and voice box, or as large as removing part of the throat and lymph nodes.
In chemotherapy, drugs that can kill cancer cells are used. In some cases, chemotherapy will be used in conjunction with radiation therapy.
Targeted drug therapy with drugs such as cetuximab can attack cancer cells thereby inhibiting or stopping their growth.
Consider taking a drug clinical trial so you have the opportunity to try a new treatment.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco. Consumption of alcohol and tobacco is closely related to throat cancer. Avoiding both as much as possible will help increase the effectiveness of cancer treatments as well as prevent cancer recurrence after you recover.
Smoking has several effects on throat cancer patients. Smoking can reduce the effectiveness of treatment, reduce the body’s ability to recover, and increase the risk of cancer recurrence.
Quitting alcohol consumption is also important. This can not only increase the efficacy of treatment, but can also minimize the risk of cancer recurrence.
If you’re having a hard time quitting smoking or drinking alcohol, which is especially difficult under stress, talk to your doctor for help avoiding using both.