On October 7, Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist and co-founder of his band Van Halen, died of throat cancer at 65. According to the reports in the last two years, he had cancer recurrence and flew to German for treatment.
As news of Van Halen's death broke, we paid tribute to the one-of-a-kind talent. Now comes autumn. In this season, some of you may have dryness in your throat and feel panic about the dryness. You may ask, “Will a long-term sore throat turn into cancer?” “Why can’t I recover from chronic pharyngitis?” How can we differentiate pharyngitis from throat cancer? How to prevent throat cancer in our daily life? Let’s go into it!
The difference between pharyngitis and throat cancer
In fact, the common ground of pharyngitis and throat cancer is that middle-aged and elderly male smokers are highly susceptible to these two diseases. However, they have differences. Pharyngitis is an acute and chronic inflammation of pharyngeal mucosa, most of which is related to upper respiratory tract infection and patients' living habits and working environment.
Patients with pharyngitis can be cured by conventional drug therapy. The main symptoms of acute pharyngitis are dryness and burning sensation at the beginning, and then pain which deteriorates when patients swallowing saliva. The main symptoms of chronic pharyngitis are pharyngeal discomfort, much secretion with burning sensation, and foreign body sensation. These symptoms can be exacerbated especially by talking too much, eating stimulating foods, fatigue, or weather changes.
Pharyngeal cancer is a general term of nasopharyngeal cancer, oropharyngeal cancer, hypopharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer. It is a malignant tumor that occurs in nasopharynx, oropharynx and larynx. Because the early symptom of pharyngeal cancer is not very obvious, many patients often take early stage pharyngeal cancer for chronic pharyngitis, thus missing the best opportunity for treatment.
Be aware of the early symptoms of throat cancer and receive treatment in time.
It is the most common symptom of early stage throat cancer. In most cases, throat cancer is first found in vocal cord. In other words, a tiny tumor of the vocal cord can also cause abnormal vibration and hoarseness. Therefore, if you have hoarse voice, please receive a careful examination for confirmation.
2.Foreign body sensation in throat or swallowing pain
They are also the early symptoms of throat cancer. The tumor that is first found in vocal cord will cause foreign body sensation in throat or swallowing pain in late stage. Because the symptoms are not evident at the beginning, it is easier for patients and doctors to ignore them, and once detected, cancer may have progressed to the middle stage or even more serious.
3.Pain in inner ear
When throat cancer develops to a certain extent and causes ulcers and severe inflammation in the throat area, it can cause reflex pain in the nerves. Early stage tumor in vocal cord generally does not produce reflex pain, which occurs mainly in patients with advanced tumors.
4.Phlegm with blood
Because the tumor is located in the vocal cord with a large number of abnormal new blood vessels, patients often cough up bloody phlegm or mucus. Generally, early stage tumor is not big, so it will not cause bleeding.
When the tumor deteriorates seriously in the primary site and increases in size, it will directly block the trachea and affect breathing or obstruct the secretion from the trachea, resulting in dyspnea. This symptom usually occurs only in advanced stage throat cancer.
When above symptoms occur, we must be vigilant, and timely go to the otorhinolaryngology clinic for laryngoscopy, which can detect whether there is a tumor or not. Early detection and treatment can help you a lot.
How to prevent throat cancer?
The survival rate for patients with early stage throat cancer is as high as 80%, while the mortality rate for them is only about 40%. If symptoms similar to throat cancer are found, please see a doctor as soon as possible. Early treatment can preserve the vocal function, and the sequela after treatment will be much smaller.
Guangzhou Fuda Cancer Hospital kindly reminds you:
1.Develop good living habits, quit smoking or alcohol. Smoking directly damage organs, causing throat cancer. The longer time you smoke, the more easily you may have cancer.
2.Chronic inflammation should be treated promptly, because chronic laryngitis or inflammation of the repeated stimulation of respiratory tract over a long period may also cause cancer.
3.Develop a good hygienic habit to prevent virus infection. Virus infection is closely related to throat cancer. It is generally believed that viruses can alter the nature of cells and cause abnormal division, and virus gene can attach to normal genes and pass on to the next generation, thus causing cancerous changes
4.Pay attention to precancerous lesions.
Laryngeal leukoplakia is a precancerous lesion of throat cancer. It is dyskeratosis of vocal cord mucous membrane, appearing as a white plaque on the mucous membrane. It is a pathological change caused by upper respiratory tract infection, smoking, harmful gas stimulation, excessive use of voice, etc. It is closely related to throat cancer and must be paid much attention to.
5.Do not eat too much pickled vegetable, sour or spicy food. Do not eat mildew-tainted food. Develop a good eating hygiene habit, such as eating less meat but more vegetable, more fresh fruits, vegetables and so on.
6.Avoid shouting loudly. If your voice is improperly or excessively used, it may cause acute congestion or bleeding of vocal cord. Please take good care of your voice especially when you catch a cold.
7.Learn how to release stress to avoid bad mood.
8.If you work in a seriously-polluted environment, please receive a regular check-up.