Throat Cancer Symptoms
Have you been a chronic cigarette smoker or alcohol drinker? Have you noticed changes in your voice? Has your throat been weird lately? Have yourself checked. You might be developing throat cancer.
Throat cancer is commonly characterized by presence of tumor along the structures of the throat including the larynx and tonsils. It is highly attributed to unhealthy practices such as cigarette smoking and heavy alcohol consumption. It is more common among adults 50 years old and above. Furthermore, men are at a higher risk of developing this type of cancer compared to women. Besides growing lump in the area, other throat cancer symptoms include cough, sore throat and voice hoarseness that last for more than two weeks, ear pain, blood-tinged sputum, and weight loss. If left untreated, it may spread to other parts of the body and may lead to airway obstruction, loss of voice, difficulty swallowing and facial deformity as tumor size increases.
Throat cancer, like any other types of cancer, is classified according to stages. Stage one is characterized by lump size that is equal or less than two centimeters. It also means that the malignant cells have not invaded the adjacent lymph nodes in the area. If the tumor already measures more than two centimeters but less than four centimeters, then the cancer has progressed to stage two. Other structures remain unaffected in this stage. In stage three, one node is already involved but can be easily removed with radiation or surgery. It is classified as stage four if the lump measures more than four centimeters and involves the entire side of the neck. In stage five, the malignancy has spread to other areas such as mouth and lips and the tumor is already more than six centimeters.
In order to diagnose cancer, certain tests are conducted. Biopsy is one. It is a procedure that involves removal of sample tissue from the suspected malignant area. The sample tissue is then sent to laboratory for series of testing. Endoscopy is another test. It uses a special tool, a lighted scope to visualize the throat. It has built-in camera at the tip of the instrument that transmits the image to a screen. Finally, imaging tests such as X-Ray, MRI and CT scan are ordered to determine the extent of the condition.
The main goal of treatment is complete removal of cancer. The treatments are also focused in preventing its spread to other parts of the body. Small tumors, such as those in stages one, two, and three, can be treated with radiation therapy or surgical removal alone. In cases of larger tumors and if there are other structures that are already involved, a combination of various treatments including chemotherapy and use of anti neoplastic agents may be necessary. Laryngectomy, or removal of the larynx or voice box, is often a treatment of choice if there has been an extensive damage to the organ.
Prevention is always better than cure. Start eliminating habits such as smoking and alcohol drinking that predispose you not only to throat cancer but all types of cancer as well. If you already suspect the condition, consult your doctor immediately. Throat cancer is highly curable with early detection and prompt treatment.Throat Cancer Symptoms,
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