By now you've heard the sad news that Oscar winner Michael Douglas, 65, was diagnosed with throat cancer. Other celebrities such as Sammie Davis, Jr., have succumbed to throat cancer.
Do you experience a dry, 'sticking' feeling in your throat when you swallow that feels like a lump in your throat? Do you have difficulty swallowing, or a sore throat that never seems to go away? Or hoarseness that doesn't clear when you cough? If so, read on...
Your throat (pharynx) includes the esophagus (the tube that forms a passage from your throat to your stomach), tonsils and adenoids, the larynx (holds voice box; vocal cords) and epiglottis (the membrane flap that keeps food from going into your lungs when you swallow).
All of these organs are susceptible to cancer. Throat cancer usually develops in men and women over 50 and is 10 times more likely to affect males over 50.
Cancer occurs when cells begin to divide uncontrollably and rapidly. The accumulation of cells sticking together forms a tumor that inhibits the growth of healthy cells. Smokers (including weed smoking), alcoholics and people who chew tobacco are at higher risk for throat cancer than the general population.
*Signs and Symptoms of throat cancer include:
- Chronic cough (that doesn't go away)
- Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
- Difficulty swallowing
- Ear pain
- Neck pain
- Painful or painless lumps or swelling in your neck
- A sore throat
- Wheezing sound in your throat
- Weight loss
- Mouth breathing
- Coughing up blood
*Remember that 'Signs' are what you see and 'Symptoms' are what you feel.
Contact your doctor if you experience any of these signs and symptoms for more than a week (except for the coughing up blood, which is an emergency). 90% of throat cancers can be cured if diagnosed early.
This has been your Medical Minute.
As always, any medical information published on this blog is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with your personal physician or a health care provider.
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