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Throat Cancer: What You Need To Know

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Dealing with a sore throat is no fun. It is painful and can prevent you from taking part in your normal daily activities. If you have a persistent sore throat along with some other health symptoms, you may want to see your doctor. Not all sore throats equal throat cancer, but if you have any of the risk factors, it is worth checking out. Here is what you need to know:

What Is Throat Cancer?  

Throat cancer is a general term for cancer that impacts any part of your throat. Throat cancer can impact your larynx and the middle part of the throat. Throat cancer is typically treated with surgery, but treatment ultimately depends on where the cancer is located and if you have cancer in other areas of your body.

What Are the Symptoms of Throat Cancer?

Throat cancer has several symptoms you should look out for. One is a persistent sore throat that lasts up to several weeks. You may also have trouble swallowing. Your voice may become hoarse and last for several weeks. In addition, any strange lumps or bumps in your throat or neck can also be a sign. You may even have pain in your ears since they are connected to your throat.

It is important to note that all of these symptoms do not mean you have cancer. In many cases, these symptoms can be a sign of a major infection. However, any symptoms that last more than a few weeks should be checked by a doctor.

What Causes Throat Cancer? 

Throat cancer occurs when something foreign triggers a change in your throat's cells. The change can cause healthy cells to turn cancerous. Once the cells become cancerous, they can quickly grow and spread. Throat cancer has been linked to certain activities and medical conditions that are now considered risk factors.

Those who smoke, use snuff, or partake in any type of tobacco use are at a higher risk for developing throat cancer. Tobacco use has been found to be the leading cause of not only throat cancer but neck and lung cancer as well.

Those who drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol are also at a higher risk of getting throat cancer. In addition, human papillomavirus, or HPV has also been linked to throat cancer in some people. HPV is a sexually transmitted infection that can cause a variety of health problems.

Consult an oncologist to learn more.