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Hoarseness &
Throat Cancer

Hoarseness and throat cancer originates in the throat and voice box (larynx). Throat cancer, though rare, may grow aggressively. If you experience a throat ache or hoarseness lasting more than 2 weeks please consult with an ENT. 

Symptoms of Throat Cancer

Symptoms may include all or some of the following:

  • Voice changes such as cracking or hoarseness
  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Sore throat, cough or earache that won’t go away
  • Headaches
  • Neck Lump
  • Unexplained weight loss

How is Throat Cancer Diagnosed?

Throat cancer is typically diagnosed with a proper patient history. Your doctor will ask about your general health, smoking and drinking habits. Your doctor will also take a close look at your throat checking for lumps or any other signs of throat cancer. Based on the results of your examination your doctor may order a biopsy and imaging tests if they suspect you may have throat cancer.

What Are The Causes of Throat Cancer?

The risk of throat cancer is all around us.  Some is self inflicted while others can occur through the environment.

Tobacco Use. Smoking and chewing tobacco are the biggest risk factors for throat cancer.

Alcohol Consumption. Having more than 2 drinks a day can drive up your risk of throat cancer.

Gender and Age. Most people are diagnosed after age 65. Men are five times more likely to be diagnosed than women. 

Chemical Exposure. Jobs where a person is exposed to chemicals such as asbestos, nickel and sulfuric acid fumes have an increased chance to develop throat cancer.

How is Throat Cancer Treated?

Treatment depends on the stage of cancer and location. Treatment may include one or a combination of the following:

Radiation. Radiation therapy uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells. Sometimes this is the only treatment needed for early-stage cancers but can be used in combination with chemotherapy and surgery to treat later stages of cancer.

Surgery. Surgery may be required for larger tumors or later stages of cancer to remove parts or all of your larynx or pharynx. This may affect your ability to speak, swallow or breathe normally.

Chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs kill cancer and stop it from spreading. It may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor, or after to keep the disease from returning.

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