Throat cancer: symptoms

Different symptoms should alert and encourage consultation:

  • a sore throat that does not pass (lasting more than 15 days),
  • the voice that remains hoarse,
  • a cough that persists,
  • the discovery of blood spitting,
  • a pain in the ear,
  • difficulty swallowing,
  • a ganglion (a ball) under the chin or in the neck ...

All these symptoms require the advice of a doctor: a general practitioner or a specialist, such as an ENT or a stomatologist.

It also happens that during dental care, the dentist discovers a lesion in the back of the mouth, in the throat that will require special investigations.

The practitioner questions the patient about his symptoms .

He asks many questions about the antecedents (possible other cancers, consumption of tobacco, alcohol ...). He also carefully examines the patient. Note that the ENT is better equipped to look at the back of the throat, and is more used to it. In consultation, he can visualize the state of health of the vocal cords and different parts of the larynx, using a mini-probe that passes through the patient's nose. This exam is not very nice, but it is essential.

Then, the doctor can prescribe complementary examinations (scanner, MRI ...), or prescribe drugs to treat the problem (if it is not a tumor).

If there is a high suspicion of cancer (or if the diagnosis is made), the ENT will refer the patient to an oncology specialist. To be certain of the diagnosis, a sampling at the level of the throat and its analysis in laboratory are essential.

Other times, it is the tumor removed during the surgical operation that will be analyzed.

Depending on the result of this laboratory analysis and the assessment (carried out by examinations to know precisely the location and the possible extension of the cancer), different treatments and different therapeutic strategies can be put in place.

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