Music gt;gt; Background music When we say throatcancer we’re really talking about a variety of malignancies that can occur from theoral cavity or mouth, onto the pharynx or back of the throat, ordown in larynx or voice box, and we can expand that discussion evenfurther to talk about the groups of tumors that are collectively calledhead and neck cancer. And this includes the various throatcancers plus tumors in the thyroid gland, the salivary glands, the lymph nodesor even the skin of the head and neck.
There are several signs orsymptoms that can be very concerning for the development of head and neck cancer. One of them is hoarseness not everybody canbecome hoarse from time to time associated with a cold or something like that, buthoarseness that’s persistent say for a month or so, really should be evaluatedby an otolaryngologist head and neck surgeon commonly calledan ear, nose and throat physician. Another worrisome symptom would be dysphagia or trouble swallowing particularly troubleswallowing salads or if it’s associated
with what we call odynophagiawhich means pain with swallowing. Another potential worrisome sign for throatcancer is a nonhealing sore or a lump in the neck, and this can be an area in themouth that stays raw, doesn’t want to heal or a lump that’s an enlarged lymphnode or may be other mass in the neck. Now lymph nodes will typically becomeenlarged temporarily after a throat infection and they are usually tender when that occurs,but a persistently enlarged lymph node, one that exist for about six weeks orso really should be evaluated further. And lymph nodes that are associatedwith cancer are usually painless,
rather than being tender to the touch. Haemoptysis or coughing up blood is always avery concerning symptom and that’s something that you’ve should definitely wouldbe talked about with a physician. Dyspnea or shortness of breath can alsobe an indication of a throat cancer. Usually that won’t happen though until atumor is actually quite large and is beginning to obstruct part of the breathing passage. Otalgia or ear pain with a normal earexam is also a concerning symptom. It’s not very intuitive, but ear pain mayactually be referred pain that’s coming
from a lesion that’s in the larynx orthe voice box or the back of the throat so if the ear looks normal andthere’s persistent ear pain, that’s something that needsto be further evaluated. The primary risk factors associated withthroat cancer are tobacco use, or alcohol abuse and tobacco use includes smoking or chewingtobacco and the combination of tobacco use and alcohol abuse is a very potent combinationof risk factors for developing throat cancer. Other risk factors that we’relearning more about now are HPV or Human papillomavirus andeven chronic acid reflux.
As far as preventive measures, our research hereat the University of Michigan and the research of others have shown that fruit and vegetableintake is associated with a lower risk of developing throat cancer and betteroutcomes in patients who do develop cancers. Soy is also associated with a better outcome. Having said that though the key preventive steps for preventing throat cancer are don’tuse tobacco and don’t abuse alcohol. Here at the University of Michigan we havea well established multidisciplinary head and neck oncology program for the evaluation andtreatment of patients with head and neck cancer,