Signs of throat cancer

Updated February 21, 2017

Throat cancer is a disease that affects the pharynx, more commonly known as the throat, though technically it's a specific part of the throat. Throat cancer can develop in the throat itself or in the pharynx, commonly called the voice box. The American Cancer Society estimates that as many as 24,000 new cases of throat cancer are diagnosed in the United States each year, with half of those found in the pharynx and the other half in the throat. The symptoms of this disease vary between individuals, and some mimic other, much less serious, conditions such as sore throats.

Common Symptoms

Some of the more frequently seen symptoms of throat cancer include a sore or a lump that lingers and does not heal in the throat area. Sore throats and persistent coughs are also symptoms of throat cancer.

Obvious Signs

When an individual has a hard time swallowing, this can be a sign of throat cancer. Changes in voice, especially a hoarseness to the voice that hasn't been observed before, is another potential indicator of throat cancer.

Strange Sensation

Sometimes a person suffering from throat cancer will get a feeling that he has a lump in his throat. This strange sensation will make him feel as if he needs to swallow even though there is nothing in his throat.


Swelling in the neck can be a sign that throat cancer is present. The lymph nodes located in the neck can become enlarged, creating a swollen appearance.

Other Possible Symptoms

Other symptoms of throat cancer may include raspy-sounding breathing or a wheezing when breathing. There can be coughing up of blood and an unexplained loss of weight.

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About the Author

John Lindell has written articles for "The Greyhound Review" and various other online publications. A Connecticut native, his work specializes in sports, fishing and nature. Lindell worked in greyhound racing for 25 years.