Symptoms of throat cancer manifest as a sore throat, ear pain, difficulty swallowing, a continual cough that may produce blood, voice alterations and weight loss, according to Healthline. If any symptoms continue for a long period of time without improvement, it is important to see a doctor for analysis.
Throat cancers can affect the vocal cords, the tonsils, the voice box and other areas of the throat, according to Healthline. The condition is divided into two categories. Pharyngeal cancer affects the pharynx, and laryngeal cancer affects the larynx.
Healthline explains that throat cancer is commonly found in people who smoke, have poor dental health, drink excessively, work with asbestos or are deficient in vitamin A. It may also appear in people who are diagnosed with other forms of cancer, such as bladder, lung and esophageal cancer. Healthline adds that treatment for the condition depends on the specific stage of cancer. Small tumors can often be removed with surgical procedures, followed with radiation treatments. Larger tumors or growths that have spread into surrounding tissues may require chemotherapy treatments. In certain cases, individuals with throat cancer may need to learn how to swallow and speak properly again after receiving treatment. Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is a sexually transmitted disease also thought to pose a risk for developing throat cancer. Doctors who are suspicious of throat cancer are likely to inspect a patient's throat with a long, lighted tube and mirror that allows better visibility of the entire area.
If any irregularities are found during this procedure, the doctor may order a biopsy of the throat tissue to be sent to a lab for further testing. If the testing confirms throat cancer is present, the doctor takes additional steps to determine how far the cancer has progressed. Once this is determined, the doctor then moves forward with a treatment plan, which may involve chemotherapy, surgery or radiation, explains Healthline.