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Conditions

Throat Cancer

Cancer of the larynx, also known as the voicebox, is a rare type of cancer which causes hoarseness or a change in pitch of voice and swelling of the throat. The larynx has three main jobs in the body: it helps to channel oxygen, it acts as a valve to stop food or water getting into the airways and contains the vocal cords. Symptoms include pain when swallowing, a sore throat, ear ache, a lump in the neck, coughing, weight loss and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms persist for longer than 3 weeks then it is advisable to visit your GP, but it is important to note that all these symptoms are the same for many other conditions, and therefore it is unlikely that they are caused by cancer.

Laryngeal cancer only affects around 1,700 people each year in England and Wales with around 80% of sufferers being male. Those over 50 are at a higher risk of developing this kind of cancer, along with people who smoke or drink heavily. In fact, it has been estimated that 75% of all cases are a direct result of tobacco and alcohol abuse. Recently, a link has been found between those with the condition and the human papilloma virus. Long term exposure to certain chemicals can also increase the risk of laryngeal cancer such as paint fumes, coal dust, wood dust, deisal fumes, nickel, formaldehyde, asbestos and isopropyl alcohol.

With nearly all cancers, treatment and prognosis is determined by the stage at which is has progressed by the time it is identified. In its early stage when it is confined to the larynx, the chance of being completely cured is quite high with 80% of people living for at least five years after diagnosis. However, if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body then this percentage is reduced to 60%.

Laryngeal cancer can be treated with radiotherapy alone if caught at an early stage, but if the cancer is more severe then chemotherapy and surgery may be needed. In the most severe cases a laryngectomy may be performed, which is the removal of the larynx. As a result, the vocal chords are also removed which will impair speech. However there are many treatments available to help with speech after having a laryngectomy, including voice prosthesis where an artificial valve in placed in the neck, oesophagael speech where you learn to push air through your gullet, and speech using an electropharynx, which is an electronic device you hold to your throat to speak. A permanent tracheostomy is needed after this operation as well which leaves a hole or stoma in the throat to allow the patient to breathe. This needs to be kept clean and away from water to prevent further complications.

Comments and Questions

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Hi..My wife of 32 has been dealing with weight loss, feeling as something stuck in throat from nasal passage to about Adam's apple. Throat seems tight to her as well. Sometimes lots of saliva that has to be spit out. Help.. Has seen a few doctors....saying reflux, anxiety, and acute laryngitis. What do you think....it has her crying everyday and depression is near.





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Hi I'm 26 years old! I had my tonsils out when I was round about 12 years old a few years later a lump appeared on the right side where my tonsil use to be went to the doctors on a number of occasions each time it was said to be something different throat Infection, scar tissue an then something like pharyngitis that you can't get rid Of. Which if it was scar tissue it wouldn't get bigger in size over the years I've had it surely an a throat infection should Of cleared up by now it's been like 16 years! I have no pain just constant irritation when swallowing as it feels like there is something stuck in my thoat all the time. Also feels swollen when moving head.





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Hi, I very rare feel a piece of wood follow by wood dust ( not much but it feels kinda a little dust in my throat after I eat something, have no problem swallo nor pain. I feel it 3 to 4 times up to now over the past 3 years, maybe once a year, should I concern, I don't know why it happens? I just remember each time it happend I had kinda tight dress on or I was sitting properly. Does it have to do anything with this feeling?





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My brother had throat cancer , a year ago , with chemo and radiotherapy he no longer has the cancer , he can't eat due to mouth ulcers , and is being fed by a peg feed , no one seems to be helping him ( hospital ) he's so fed up , when he thought he'd done the hardest part beating the cancer , he's now got an infection from the peg feed , and told by a district nurse , to tell the consultant when he sees him , please help ,





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So I had something stuck in my throat it has been eight years now what could it be it's not sore or painful it just irritated me but I recently have bad headache Please help what can I do





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I`ve had a stabbing pain on the left hand side of my throat for several weeks. I have several health issues arthritis in lower spine and have morphine based patches and the pain is going over this medication. I have no other symptoms in my throat no soreness no swelling I`am a smoker of 35yrs though never had a cough or any smoking related illness and do not drink alcohol





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Hi my name is sangram and I am from India.India . I use to drink twice a week (180 ml of whisky). And sometimes I used to drink it neat. But from past 5 months I have quit drinking. But since then m into a great depression about thinking myself affected with throat cancer. I don't have any problem like trouble in swallowing neither I have a sore throat. But sometimes I feel something strange with my throat. So I am very much worried about my current situation. Please suggest me what should I do in this situation





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I have the same complication as u do. Dont know if i should get it checked or not

Don't know if you will see this but it honestly sounds like anxiety or panic attacks. You said you're worrying about throat cancer, which you needn't be. Anxiety can cause a lot of symptoms and one of the most common is issues with your throat, whether feeling a lump, tightness, or heavy swallowing. Also, depression and anxiety go hand in hand.

The roof of my month is a yellow colour mainly at the back and at the back of my throat, I have scar tissue on both of my cheeks, two lumps one either side of my tongue right at the back, and the back of the roof of my mouth seems to be swollen. I have good oral hygiene but smoke 20 a day and drink on the weekends, I have had my tonsils taken out and have perforated ear drums. I am 17 soon to be 18. Cancer seems to run in my family so worried that I have throat or mouth cancer.





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I have a sore throat on the right side tried nexim antiobiotic gargle with honey lemon but it still sore





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Hi I'm 17 and I admit I an a heavy smoker I've been having a sour throat for a while no well St first it wasn't that bad it just came now and again..tonight it's gotten really bad lime it will come for 2 seconds then go again and Co tiniest to do it the pain is on the right side and my wisldom teeth also hurts I am really panicking do I need to go to the doctors or what?





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