Larynx Cancer (Throat Cancer)

  • Medical Author:
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

  • Medical Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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What are the symptoms and signs of throat cancer?

The symptoms and signs of throat cancer often vary from person to person. The most common signs and symptoms of throat cancer are nonspecific. Not every patient will exhibit each sign and symptom, but each patient will usually have at least one or two of the following:

As stated above, these symptoms and signs are not diagnostic for throat cancer because many other problems can mimic the throat cancer. However, any person who develops these signs and symptoms and has risk factors for throat cancer should immediately discuss them with his or her physician.

How do health-care professionals diagnose throat cancer?

The person's individual history (especially the presence of potential risk factors) and physical examination may provide a physician with enough suspicious information that the physician will consider throat cancer as a possible diagnosis. Consequently, the physician may strongly suggest doing additional tests to confirm or exclude the diagnosis of throat cancer. Although imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET scan, and others like chest X-rays and barium swallows provide very useful information about extent and location of the cancer, the definitive diagnosis of throat cancer is made by biopsy of the tumor. Biopsy may be done by surgical incision in the neck, fine needle aspiration of the tumor, or by endoscopic biopsy.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/30/2016

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