Throat cancer refers to cancerous tumours that develop in the throat, voice box or tonsils. The throat is a muscular tube that begins behind the nose and ends in the neck. Throat cancer most often begins in the flat cells which line the inside of the throat. A change in your voice is unusual and could also be a sign that something is not right. If your voice begins to sound a certain way, it could be cause for concern.
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Throat cancer is often grouped into two categories: pharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, one in 55 UK males and one in 108 females will be diagnosed with oral cancer in their lifetime.
Around 46-88 percent of head and neck cancers in the UK are preventable and 88 percent of pharynx cancer cases in the UK are preventable.
73 percent of larynx cancer cases in the UK are also preventable.
The reason why the voice is affected due to cancer is because the voice box sits just below the throat making it susceptible to throat cancer.
The voice box is made of cartilage and contains the vocal cords, which vibrate to make sound when a person speaks.
Throat cancer can also affect the piece of cartilage that acts as a lid for the windpipe.
Tonsil cancer, another form of throat cancer, affects the tonsils which are located at the back of the throat.
Mayo Clinic said: “Signs and symptoms of throat cancer may include a cough, difficulty swallowing, ear pain or a lump, sore throat, weight loss or sore that doesn’t heal.
“Changes in the voice, such as hoarseness is another symptom. Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice any new signs and symptoms that are persistent.
“Most throat cancer symptoms aren’t specific to cancer, so your doctor will likely investigate other more common causes first.”
What causes throat cancer
Throat cancer occurs when cells in your throat develop genetic mutations, said Mayo Clinic.
It explained: “These mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably and continue living after healthy cells would normally die. The accumulating cells can form a tumour in your throat.
“It’s not clear what causes the mutation that causes throat cancer.
“But doctors have identified factors that may increase your risk, these include tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol use, a sexually transmitted virus, a diet lacking in fruits and vegetables or gastroesophageal reflux disease.”
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The website adds: “If you have noticed a change in your voice and are worried about potential warning signs, speak with your doctor.
“At the appointment, its likely the doctor will ask about symptoms you have experienced and your medical history.
“If you’ve been experiencing symptoms including a sore throat, hoarseness and a persistent cough, they may suspect throat cancer and will perform a direct or indirect laryngoscopy.”
If you have noticed a change in your voice and are worried about potential warning signs, speak with your doctor.
At the appointment, its likely the doctor will ask about symptoms you have experienced and your medical history.
If you’ve been experiencing symptoms including a sore throat, hoarseness and a persistent cough, they may suspect throat cancer and will perform a direct or indirect laryngoscopy.
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