At Quail Creek ENT we want you to have the best quality of life possible and that means quality of hearing and otolaryngological health. There is no disorder of the ear, nose OR throat in children or adults that we are not prepared to address. 

Pharyngeal cancer develops in the pharynx, which is the part of the throat that sits behind the mouth and nasal cavity. Laryngeal cancer develops in the voice box, or larynx. The larynx is a tubular structure that sits at the top of the windpipe.

Throat cancer is not very common in the United States. In fact, according to the National Cancer Institute, pharyngeal cancers — along with oral cancer — account for around 3% of all cancer diagnoses. Laryngeal cancer accounts for around 0.7% of all cancer diagnoses.

Keep reading for more information on the symptoms, signs, and causes of throat cancer. This article also provides information on when to see a doctor.

Early symptoms and signs

The early symptoms and signs of throat cancer may vary depending on the part of the throat it affects. However, some general symptoms include:

A persistent sore throat: this is one of the most common symptoms of throat cancer.

Difficulty swallowing: Some people may experience a burning sensation or pain in the throat when swallowing. They may also feel that food is becoming stuck in the throat.

Vocal changes: A person's voice may become quieter or sound huskier. People may also develop slurred speech or have difficulty pronouncing certain words.

A lump on the neck: This can indicate a swollen lymph node. Swelling in one or more lymph nodes is a common sign of throat cancer and other cancers of the head and neck.

Weight loss: This may be related to difficulty swallowing food.

A person with throat cancer may also experience:

difficulty moving the tongued difficulty opening the mouth persistent white patches on the tongue or the lining of the mouth persistent coughing, which may produce blood nose bleeds headaches

It is possible for a person to mistake the signs and symptoms of throat cancer for those of other conditions. A person should therefore see a doctor if they experience any symptoms of throat cancer that do not go away.


Although throat cancers can affect anyone, certain factors can increase the risk of this condition. According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, some major risk factors include:

human papillomavirus infection

use of tobacco products

excessive alcohol consumption

Some other risk factors include:

being over 65 years of age

being male

being of Asian ancestry

having poor nutrition, particularly a lack of fruits and vegetables and overconsumption of processed meats

having poor dental hygiene

having exposure to asbestos or coal dust

having exposure to the Epstein-Barr virus

having Plummer-Vinson syndrome

having certain genetic syndromes

Conditions that cause similar symptoms

Several other conditions can cause symptoms that are similar to those of throat cancer. These conditions include:

upper respiratory infections

gastroesophageal reflux disease



A person who is unsure of the cause of their symptoms should see their doctor for a diagnosis.

When to see a doctor

A person should see their doctor if they experience any of the symptoms of throat cancer for more than 3 weeks. A doctor will conduct tests to establish whether the symptoms are due to cancer or another cause.


There are several tools a doctor can use to test for throat cancer. They will typically start with a physical examination and a discussion of the person's symptoms. If they suspect throat cancer, they may order a laryngoscopy. A laryngoscope is an instrument that allows a doctor to see inside a person's throat in order to identify any abnormalities. During a laryngoscopy, the doctor may take a biopsy of the throat tissue. They will then send the tissue sample to a laboratory technician, who will examine it for signs of cancer.

There are three types of biopsy. These are:

a conventional biopsy, which involves cutting away a piece of the tissue

an endoscopic biopsy, which involves removing a piece of tissue using a flexible tube, or endoscope, inserted through the mouth

a fine needle aspiration, which uses a needle to extract cells from a tumor

Cancer staging

If the biopsy returns a positive result for throat cancer, the doctor will assign a stage to it. This stage indicates how advanced the cancer is.

The five stages of throat cancer and their descriptions are as follows:

Stage 0: Abnormal cells are present within the lining of the throat.

Stage 1: A tumor is present and measures 2 centimeters (cm) or less. It has not spread to a lymph node.

Stage 2: The tumor is 2–4 cm. It has not spread to a lymph node.

Stage 3: The tumor is larger than 4 cm or has spread to a lymph node on the same side of the neck. The affected lymph node is smaller than 3 cm.

Stage 4: The cancer has spread to several lymph nodes or to other tissues and organs within the body.


Throat cancer is a rare type of cancer that develops in a small percentage of people each year. Anyone can develop throat cancer, but people who are older, male, or of Asian ancestry are at increased risk.

Throat cancer is not always preventable. However, there are some steps a person can take to reduce their risk of developing it. These include eating a healthful diet, quitting smoking, and avoiding excessive alcohol consumption.

A person should see their doctor if they experience any symptoms of throat cancer for longer than 3 weeks.

Source: By Robby Berman,

A new study finds that hearing devices benefit older adults in multiple ways, from physical safety to brain health.

Almost 1 in 4 people in the United States aged 65–74 have disabling hearing loss. In people over 75, the figure is 1 in 2.

Nonetheless, many people who would benefit from wearing a hearing aid do not wear them.

Experts have linked hearing loss to an increased likelihood of dementiaTrusted Source, depression and anxiety, walking problems, and falling.

Now, a study in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society finds that using a hearing device makes these problems significantly less likely to occur.

Study lead Elham Mahmoudi, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan, explains:

"We already know that people with hearing loss have more adverse health events and more co-existing conditions, but this study allows us to see the effects of an intervention and look for associations between hearing aids and health outcomes."

She continues, "Though hearing aids can't be said to prevent these conditions, a delay in the onset of dementia, depression, and anxiety, and the risk of serious falls could be significant both for the patient and for the costs to the Medicare system."

Looking into the data

The study carried out at the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation looked at data from nearly 115,000 individuals who were over 66 years old and had hearing loss.

All the participants also had insurance through a Medicare Health Maintenance Organization (HMO).

The researchers chose Medicare HMOs because, unlike standard Medicare, they often cover hearing aid costs for members who have received a diagnosis with hearing loss from an audiologist.

The scientists tracked the participants' health from 1 year before their diagnosis to 3 years afterward. This allowed researchers to pinpoint any new diagnoses of dementia, depression, anxiety, or fall injuries.

The researchers noted significant differences between the outcomes of those with hearing loss who did wear a hearing aid compared with those who did not.

Wearing a hearing aid reduced:

• the relative risk of being diagnosed with dementia — including Alzheimer's — by 18%

• the relative risk of being diagnosed with depression or anxiety by 11%

• the relative risk of fall-related injuries by 13%

Previous research has looked into the links between hearing loss and dementia and mental health conditions. Some experts believe that social isolationTrusted Source, which sometimes comes with hearing loss, might result in less stimulation for the brain and, ultimately, cognitive decline.

Others have suggested that the deterioration of nerve impulses in the ear may be an indicator of a wider neural degeneration already underway.

Who gets a hearing aid?

The secondary goal of the study was to determine the adoption rate of hearing devices among different demographic groups.

Overall, the study found that just 12% of those diagnosed with hearing loss decide to use a hearing aid. The authors identified differences in adoption rates among different sexes, racial and ethnic backgrounds, and geographic locations.

• 13.3% of men with hearing loss in the United States are likely to acquire a hearing aid, as opposed to 11.3% of women with hearing loss.

• 13.6% of white participants with hearing loss received hearing aids, 9.8% of African Americans, and 6.5% of people with Latino heritage.

Clear as a bell

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved over-the-counter hearing aids for sale in 2020 in an effort to make hearing aids more widely available to people with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.

For older people with hearing loss, though, the study documents the value of acquiring a hearing aid. Mahmoudi says:

"Correcting hearing loss is an intervention that has evidence behind it, and we hope our research will help clinicians and people with hearing loss understand the potential association between getting a hearing aid and other aspects of their health."

Source: By Robby Berman,

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