Throat cancer symptoms: The peculiar warning sign that lies in a person’s ear
Throat cancer is relatively uncommon in comparison to other cancers, however numbers of those being diagnosed with the deadly condition are rising. The throat is a muscular tube that begins behind the nose and ends in the neck. Throat cancer most often begins in the flat cells that line the inside of the throat. Throat cancer can affect the piece of cartilage that acts as a lid for the windpipe. Tonsil cancer, another form of throat cancer, affects the tonsils, which are located on the back of the throat.
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Throat cancer occurs when cells in the throat develop genetic mutations.
These mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and continue living after healthy cells would normally die.
The accumulating cells can form a tumour in the throat.
Symptoms of the condition include having a cough, changes in the voice, such as hoarseness or not speaking clearly, difficulty swallowing, a lump or sore that doesn’t heal and experiencing unexpected weight loss.
There is another sign that lies in one’s ear.
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If a person experiences decreased hearing or a persistent earache it could mean they’re at risk of developing throat cancer.
A person may also notice swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
The pain in the ear may affect one or both ears, however, the majority of the time its just the one ear.
It may be constant or come and go and the pain may be dull, sharp or burning.
Richmond ENT said: “If you are an adult with an unexplained ear ache lasting longer than two weeks, please schedule an evaluation with an ear nose and throat specialist.
“Cancers in the back of the throat can easily be hidden behind the palate, tonsils or tongue and may not be visible on a routine medical or dental examination.
“The middle ear forms an outpouching from the throat and carries its nerve supply with it.
“Therefore, pain in the throat is often described as an earache.”
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Who is at risk of developing throat cancer?
Factors that can increase a person’s risk of throat cancer include those who smoke, excessive alcohol use, a sexually transmitted virus called the human papillomavirus, not eating enough fruits and vegetables or having gastroesophageal reflux disease.
There is no proven way to prevent throat cancer from occurring.
In order for one to reduce their risk its strongly advised to stop smoking.
Stopping smoking can be very difficult, so it’s recommended to seek help.
A person’s GP can discuss the benefits and risks of the many stop-smoking strategies.
Diagnosing throat cancer
If you suspect you may have a symptom of throat cancer it’s important to speak to your GP. Your GP will ask about any symptoms and will look into your medical history.
If a person has been experiencing symptoms such as sore throat, hoarseness and a persistent cough with no improvement or other explanation, it could be throat cancer.
To check for throat cancer, a GP will perform a direct or indirect laryngoscopy or will refer you to a specialist.
A laryngoscopy gives a doctor a closer view of one’s throat and if the tests reveal abnormalities, tissue samples from the throat will be taken to test the sample for cancer.
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