Throat cancer is any malignant neoplasm (tumor), which is within the larynx and pharynx. Throat cancer annually affects about 10,000 people and is the reason for death of more than 3,500 people, and it belongs to the most common types of cancer of our time. The main cause of throat cancer is a bad habit – smoking, including passive smoking. First, this is due to high levels of carcinogenic and toxic substances contained in tobacco smoke and can affect the lining of the larynx, which ultimately lead to malignant tumor. In the complex impact of negative factors such as cigarette smoke and alcohol actually doubles the risk of this disease.
Throat Cancer – Risk Groups
However, throat cancer affects not only smokers. At risk are also those categories of people:
• – Those who abuse alcohol;
• – Those who use very often salty meat;
• – Those who live in industrial cities where the air is saturated with coal or asbestos dust;
• – Bad oral hygiene;
• – Genetic predisposition.
However, the factors that increase the risk of throat cancer include age as a major risk group – people over 60 years. Nationality, gender, lifestyle, occupation – all these factors play an important role in the development of cancer is not only the larynx.
The main symptoms of throat cancer
In the early stages of throat cancer it is difficult to detect. One of the first symptoms is a change in voice and appearance of minor sore throat. Hoarseness is associated primarily with tumor lesions of the vocal cords. This is because there is a breach closing the vocal folds, because cancer is a direct mechanical barrier. Usually throat cancer is characterized by a steady increase in symptoms – from small hoarseness of the voice, which ends with the development of full aphonia (loss of voice).
Patients often confuse the symptoms of throat cancer with normal signs of colds, respiratory diseases or allergic reactions. Later it hurts to swallow, there are persistent sore throat, may appear small tumors in the neck. The patient has the sensation of having a foreign body in the throat and shortness of breath. This sensation is usually noticed when swallowing. Often it is associated with the appearance of the seal of the epiglottis (one of the cartilage of the larynx) by its penetration of cancer. Most people with these symptoms do not go to the doctor and that is a huge mistake. If the cancer is diagnosed in the early stage, it can be easily cured. Cancer at an early stage in 75% of cases occurs almost asymptomatic.
The symptoms of throat cancer
Once there are any signs of laryngeal cancer, you should consult a doctor without waiting for the onset of obvious symptoms.
To clear signs of throat cancer include the following:
• chronic cough;
• stabbing pain in the neck;
• dull ache in the ear;
• rapid weight loss;
• swelling of the neck;
• sores and white patches on the tonsils.
But even with obvious signs 100% diagnosis of cancer of the larynx cannot be made because the physician is required to determine several diagnostic tests and analyzes. The most accurate diagnostic test for cancer is a biopsy. This procedure is, that a doctor with a special thin needle takes a small sample of the cancer tissue, then undergo a medical test laboratory for testing of cancerous cells. This test is the only that provides accurate identification of malignant tumor. Other diagnostic tests can only identify the exact location of cancer or tumor size.
Signs of throat cancer in the later stages
Patients with throat cancer should know that it can develop gradually (from one stage to another), and developing very long and also very fast. Symptoms become increasingly severe and painful. Diagnosis of this stage of the tumor is not problematic, but the treatment may be difficult.
In advanced cancer, signs of its forms may be:
• sore throat;
• onset of pain, tinnitus, and in some cases even hearing loss;
• meal very complicated passage of food through the esophagus;
• blood in sputum, coughing up blood;
• a permanent or paroxysmal cough, often with phlegm;
• swollen lymph nodes, which is why there is a lump in the throat;
• rapid weight loss.
The manifestation of the specificities of the throat cancer, is more dependent on the localization of malignant tumors. If the formation of tumors in the upper part of the throat, and then more actively begin to show symptoms such as severe persistent pain in the throat, pain when swallowing saliva type. Additional symptoms of malignant tumors of the neck (larynx) may be tooth pain and sometimes even loss of hair.
If malignancy is localized in the larynx, the patient is confronted with symptoms such as voice change (in cases of severe forms of cancer can complete loss of language skills) and difficulty in breathing.
With further growth, cancer can move to adjacent parts of the larynx, with some clinical signs and symptoms. Also, the tumor can grow in the cervical tissue and move, and in some cases for the first tracheal ring.