With cancer being a risk factor for coronavirus patients, and with the increasing number of throat cancer patients in the United States, attention has been brought to the identification of the signs and symptoms of this disease. Knowing the various indicators that could signal the existence of this deadly ailment can also lead to early diagnosis and treatment.

The MD Anderson Cancer Center noted that in 2018 alone, there were more than 30,000 people in the U.S. who were diagnosed with throat cancer. This type of cancer refers to tumors that develop in the voice box, tonsils, or in the pharynx. It was noted that both laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers normally start in the lower section of the throat.

Laryngeal cancer is a type of neck and head cancer, which occurs when malignant cancer cells form at the larynx. This is the area where the vocal cords are located. Some of the signs and symptoms of this type of cancer include cough or sore throat that does not go away, ear pain, pain when swallowing, change or hoarseness in voice, and a lump in the throat or neck. Risk factors for this type of cancer include using tobacco products and drinking too much alcohol.

Hypopharyngeal cancer, on the other hand, refers to the abnormal growth of cancer cells in the lower throat region called the hypopharynx. This part lies just behind the voice box but right above the inlet to the esophagus. Signs of this type of throat cancer include difficulty breathing, difficulty swallowing, hoarse voice, unexplained discomfort in the ear, a lump in the neck but without pain, and also coughing blood. Some of the risk factors for this type of throat cancer include smoking, chewing tobacco, drinking more than one drink of alcohol a day, poor nutrition, and exposure to fumes and chemicals at the workplace.

One of the things noted regarding throat cancers is that it is found to occur more in men than in women and that the former are four times more likely to suffer from it as compared to women. With regard to age, more than half of the patients with this kind of cancer are 65 years and above at the time they were diagnosed with the disease.

Be aware of the signs of throat cancer. Photo: Pixabay

Treatment of throat cancer would depend on the stage that the disease is discovered, as well as the location of the tumors. Among the treatment options available include chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, immunotherapy, and targeted therapy.