Every year, more than 55,000 Americans will develop cancer of the head and neck, including throat cancer. Around 13,000 Americans die every year from these types of cancer. Smoking and other forms of tobacco use are the main risk factor for developing cancer of the mouth and throat, though these cancers also develop in nonsmokers. A significant cause of these cancers in nonsmokers as well as younger patients is Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Like many other types of cancer, treatment is most successful when the cancer is caught early.
What are symptoms of head and neck cancer including throat cancer?
- A lump in the neck. Any lump in the neck that persists more than 2 weeks should be evaluated by your physician. Sometimes a lump in the neck may be the first and only sign of an otherwise undetected cancer of the throat.
- Changes in the voice. Hoarseness or changes in the voice that persist more than 2 weeks should be evaluated. The physicians at Peak ENT utilize high definition endoscopes to provide the most accurate diagnosis of vocal cord disorders, including detection of early vocal cord cancers.
- Growth in the mouth. Any sore or growth in the mouth that does not go away in a week or two should be evaluated.
- Coughing up blood, or blood in the sputum. If this persists beyond a few days, you should see your doctor. An endoscopic exam by an ENT may be necessary to determine the cause.
- Trouble swallowing. A tumor in the throat can cause difficulty swallowing by obstructing the passage of food and/or liquids. The providers of Peak ENT have the ability to diagnose and treat a number of swallowing disorders.
- Persistent earache. Branches of the same sensory nerves go to the ear as well as the throat. Therefore, sometimes throat problems (infection or cancer) are felt in the ear, sometimes even without any throat symptoms. Any persistent and unexplained ear pain deserves a thorough evaluation of the throat by a qualified ENT physician.