Cancer: The ‘initial warning’ sign that appears when you speak – goes ‘often dismissed’

Doctor explains the symptoms of throat cancer

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A crucial aspect of cancer survival is early diagnosis. Spotting the warning signs in time can turn many cancer cases into curable and treatable. This is because the later stages of this severe disease often see cancerous cells and tumours spreading to different parts of your body. Pharmacist Hussain Abdeh from Medicine Direct has shared one symptom that could help catch the culprit early on.

Beginning behind your nose, the throat is a muscular tube that leads all the way to your neck.

Throat cancer develops either in your throat (pharynx) or your voice box (larynx), the Mayo Clinic explains.

According to Cancer Research UK, there are around 12,400 new head and neck cancer cases in the UK each year. That brings this startling statistic to 34 new occurrences daily.

Mr Abdeh explains how to spot this cancer “early” and what to do once you start experiencing warning signs.

He said: “Having a persistent sore throat is often an early warning sign that you may have throat cancer.

“Although each case varies, it may be the first symptom that you notice. 

“Often, it is dismissed at first as ‘just’ a sore throat.”

This “first noticeable indicator” of something wrong can then further progress into a sign that appears when you speak – hoarseness.

The pharmacist explained: “A sore throat can develop into a change in your voice, particularly, hoarseness that can make it difficult to speak properly. 

“You may also find it painful or difficult to swallow food and drinks, which can lead to weight loss as you eat less due to the discomfort.”

Apart from hoarseness, some throat cancer patients can also get “a lump or a sore” in the throat.

When can you notice symptoms like sore throat and hoarseness?

“Sore throats are often present regardless of the time of day or what you are doing,” he noted.

When it comes to hoarseness, trying to talk can make it “a lot worse”.

If you struggle with voice changes, such as hoarseness, that don’t improve within two weeks, the American Cancer Society advises seeing a doctor “right away”.

Mr Abdeh added: “If you have a sore throat that does not yield to painkillers or herbal remedies, it may be a sign of something more serious. 

“You are strongly advised to go to your doctor and get the problem checked out if you are still suffering from a sore throat after three weeks.”

Although the symptoms listed by the pharmacist can signal throat cancer, there are two more signs that belong to this list.

The Mayo Clinic adds ear pain and cough as potential throat cancer symptoms.

While hoarseness is mainly associated with throat cancer, it can also be pointing to a different cancer diagnosis.

Mr Abdeh noted: “Lung cancer can also cause hoarseness as a secondary symptom, due to the sufferer often having a persistent cough or wheezing, which can result in a sore throat.”

Remember to get checked for any persisting symptoms that are troubling you.

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