Some early signs of throat cancer include hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, chronic coughing, chronic sore throat and ear pain, according to the American Cancer Society. Depending on the type of throat cancer, individuals may also experience voice changes, weight loss or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.
The early signs of throat cancer are generally not specific to throat cancers, so a diagnosis is made when the doctor performs a routine exam or if a laryngoscopy is performed, asserts Healthline. A cough or sore throat that lasts longer than two weeks may be enough to give the doctor a suspicion of throat cancer. Other types of cancers, such as lung or bladder cancer, have also been associated with the presence of throat cancer in some patients.
Although the exact cause of throat cancer is unknown, the cancer starts with the mutation of healthy throat or voice box cells, states Mayo Clinic. The specific name of the throat cancer that is applied to a patient's condition depends on where the cancer started. Five stages are used to describe how the cancer has progressed or spread throughout the body. Swollen lymph nodes in the neck, underarms or other parts of the body can indicate that the cancer has metastasized.