Throat cancer is affecting many people in Visakhapatnam. However, most of them do not know the signs of the disease. The signs of throat cancer can be the same as other common conditions, including allergies, colds, and sinus infections. To achieve an accurate diagnosis, you require the expertise of an ENT physician. They can determine whether you need a biopsy. Throat cancer is most treatable when it is discovered early.
What Causes Throat Cancer?
Frequent use of alcohol and tobacco—which includes chewing tobacco and snuff—causes 75 percent of all head, neck, and throat cancers. According to research, those who use both tobacco and alcohol are at more risk than those who use only alcohol or tobacco.
Risk Factors for Throat Cancer
Although smoking may be the most prominent risk factor, other factors can also be a cause. These include:
- Excessive amounts of alcohol
- Lack of fruits and vegetables in your diet
- Having GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease)
- Exposure to HPV (the human papillomavirus)
Remember that vaping is not a safe option for smoking. E-cigarettes contain substances like nicotine and diacetyl, which contribute to lung disease. It would be best for you to avoid both electronic and tobacco cigarettes.
Signs of Throat Cancer
These are the 5 signs of throat cancer:
- You have a neck mass: Not all neck masses are cancer. They can also occur due to strep throat, tooth infections, and goiters. An ear, nose, and throat doctor will determine the exact cause and prescribe appropriate treatment.
- Changes in your voice including hoarseness or the inability to speak clearly: There are several causes of hoarseness, and most of them are not because of cancer. However, if you had chronic problems with your voice, it is essential to fix an appointment for a complete evaluation.
- Difficulty in swallowing: You may feel that there is food stuck in your throat, even when it is not. Dysphagia is the term for difficulty in swallowing. This symptom gradually worsens until it ultimately affects your diet, limiting your ability to eat solid foods. So, consult a doctor and let them know if you are having pain when you swallow.
- A sore throat: Several reasons may cause a sore throat. These causes might be more common than throat cancer.
However, if you have had a persistent sore throat that does not go away despite treatment, you should consult a doctor. Seek medical care, especially if your sore throat is accompanied by the symptoms listed above.
- Unexplained weight loss: If you are losing weight without any adjustments in diet or any exercise-- especially if you lose ten pounds or more—it may be a cancer sign. It is important to note that many of the symptoms are caused by conditions that are not cancerous, like the cold or a sinus infection.
Because you may get these signs due to several different diseases, it is always important to seek treatment from an ENT hospital in Visakhapatnam. They can help determine the exact cause of your problems.
Where does Throat Cancer develop?
Throat cancer starts in the flat cells on the inside of your throat. Furthermore, tumors can be found on your tonsils, epiglottis, and larynx (voice box). Epiglottis is the cartilage that closes your windpipe when you swallow.
Who should have a Throat Cancer Screening?
There are no simple screening tests for such cancers because they are challenging to diagnose without complex procedures. For this reason, unless you show symptoms of the disease, specialists do not recommend routine throat cancer screening.
But if you need a throat cancer screening, specialists will use a special, thin, lighted endoscope with a tiny camera to evaluate the area. Your doctor may also examine your vocal cords in a similar matter in a procedure called a laryngoscopy.
How is Throat Cancer Treated?
In its early stages, you can treat throat cancer with radiation therapy alone. However, for advanced cases, you may require radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and even surgery.
Schedule an appointment with your doctor if you notice any new signs that are persistent. Most throat cancer symptoms are not specific to cancer, so your ENT specialist will first investigate other common causes.