Be Prepared: Know These Warning Signs Of Throat Cancer

Be Prepared: Know These Warning Signs Of Throat Cancer

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The thought of getting cancer is scary. Some people don’t even like to say the word, opting to call it, “C.” You can avoid the name but you should be aware of the symptoms of throat cancer, a less popular form of the disease. Early detection can be your best chance at beating it.
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1. What Is Throat Cancer?

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Cancer is the rapid, uncontrolled division of cells and can develop in organs throughout the body. Throat cancer forms in two areas in the throat: they larynx or the pharynx. Both types are not as common as other cancers but are equally dangerous. If diagnosed early enough, the damage can be minimized and contained to the throat area.

2. Throat Cancer’s 5 Stages

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There are five stages of throat cancer, ranking from 0-4, zero being least severe. In stages 0-2, the cancer is limited to the throat. The increasing stage number reflects the increasing size of the tumor. In Stage 3, the cancer begins to spread and in Stage 4, lymph nodes and/or other organs are affected.

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3. How To Get Throat Cancer

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No direct cause has yet been established, but there are factors that can increase the likelihood of developing throat cancer. Using tobacco (surprise!). This goes beyond cigarettes to cigars, and pipes as well. Drinking alcohol excessively can also lead to throat cancer. Finally, not eating enough fruits and vegetables, especially those that provide vitamin A like sweet potatoes and broccoli.

4. Are There Warnings?

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The symptoms themselves are typically the only warning signs. Therefore, it’s important to know the symptoms and vital that you speak to your doctor if you are experiencing these symptoms and they persist with no improvement. The following are the symptoms of throat cancer.
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5. Hoarseness Or Voice Change

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If cancer forms on the vocal chords, it affects the voice. If you experience a voice change or hoarseness that does not clear up within two weeks, speak to your doctor.

6. Persistent Cough

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A persistent cough could be benign, or it could be tumor in the throat that’s stimulating the cough reflex. It’s worth a doctor’s visit. He or she will ask questions and check for other symptoms. If necessary, the doctor (or a specialist) will use a thin, flexible tube, called a laryngoscope, to get a closer look at your throat. If needed, he can run a biopsy by taking a tissue sample. Less-invasive imaging tests can also be used to identify cancer.
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7. Weight Loss

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According to Cancer.net, unexplained weight loss is one of the first things people report when they are diagnosed with cancer. There are reasons for the weight loss, and in the case of throat cancer, it could be because of the next few symptoms.

8. Sore Throat

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There are many reasons for your throat hurt. It could be a sign of a mundane illness, or it could be the start of throat cancer that did not affect the vocal chords. If your throat hurts persistently and it does not improve, get checked by your doctor.
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9. “Something” In The Throat

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If you continuously feel like something is stuck in your throat, it could be acid or allergies, or it could be a sign of a much bigger problem. Only the doctor can rule out throat cancer and put your mind at ease.

10. Trouble Swallowing

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According to this Healthline article, there are 12 potential causes for dysphagia, trouble swallowing. Esophageal cancer (technically not “throat” cancer) is one of the twelve…along with snake bites and thyroid nodules. If you were not recently bitten by a snake, talk to your doctor. (If you were bitten by a snake, talk to your doctor!)
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11. Swollen Lymph Nodes

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There are non-threatening causes for lymph nodes to swell, like having a cold, flu, or strep. But if you do not feel ill and these glands are enlarged, it could be a sign of a bigger problem, including the spread of cancer, called metastasis. Speak to your doctor to determine the cause.

12. Wheezing

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If there is a tumor in the windpipe and it’s getting bigger, it can constrict air flow. This can lead to noisy breathing, or wheezing. If this symptom is unexplained and persistent, seek medical attention.
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13. Ear Pain

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Like with other symptoms, ear pain can be provoked by a host of other causes. But throat cancer could be one, depending on where a tumor forms in the throat. If you experience unexplained ear pain that lasts for days, talk to your doctor to rule out your worst fear.

14. Blood

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If cancer develops in the tonsils, there may be blood in your saliva or even from your nose. You’ll also have pain in the back of your throat when you eat acidic foods, like citrus fruits and even tomatoes. If you experience these symptoms, speak to your doctor.
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15. Speed

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Although many of these symptoms can be caused by simple illnesses or non-life threatening ailments, they are also symptoms of throat cancer, and the chances of curing this cancer are much greater if it’s caught and diagnosed early. If you have reason to be concerned, let your doctor know.

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