What are the Signs and Symptoms of Throat Cancer?

In the early phases of the illness, signs of throat cancer may be hard to define. Many of the signs connected with throat cancer are the same as those connected with a cold or sore throat.

Common throat cancer symptoms may include:

Difficulty swallowing, also known as dysphagia
Changes in your voice
Sore throat
Ear or jaw pain
A dull pain behind the breastbone
Difficulty breathing
Ringing in the ears
Frequent nosebleeds
A lump in the nose or back of the mouth, throat or neck
Unexplained weight loss
Swelling of the eyes, jaw, throat or neck
Bleeding in the mouth or through the nose
Chronic cough
Some symptoms of throat cancer are specific to certain areas of the body. For instance, voice changes may be a sign of laryngeal (voice box) cancer, but they would rarely indicate cancer of the pharynx.

Risk factors

Factors that can increase your risk of throat cancer include:

Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco
Excessive alcohol use
A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)


There’s no proven way to prevent throat cancer from occurring. But in order to reduce your risk of throat cancer, you can:

Stop smoking or don’t start smoking. If you smoke, quit. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Stopping smoking can be very difficult, so get some help. Your doctor can discuss the benefits and risks of the many stop-smoking strategies, such as medications, nicotine replacement products and counseling.

Drink alcohol only in moderation, if at all. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables. The vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of throat cancer. Eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables.

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