Dr Chris discusses CT scans detecting lung cancer
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Cancer rates have been difficult to tame, but researchers remain hellbent on finding a cure for the disease. In the face of Covid disruptions, however, much of the focus has steered towards raising awareness of the warning signs. The earlier the condition is picked up, the higher the chances of curative treatment. One sign of the disease may be easier to hear than see.
According to cancer research UK: “If you have a hoarse voice for more than three weeks, it could be a sign of laryngeal cancer.
“This is one of the most common symptoms. But many other things can cause a hoarse voice. One of the most common causes is actor laryngitis.”
Other symptoms of laryngeal cancer include a sore throat, or a persistent cough, pain or difficulty when swallowing, and a lump in the neck or throat.
Occasionally, dysphonia – trouble making voice sounds – can be a sign of the disease, as can ear pain.
READ MORE: Cancer symptoms: The feeling under your ribs on your left and right side to watch out for
The larynx is the part of the throat that forms the entrance of the windpipe, that helps breathe and speak.
Cancer in this part of the body is more common in people over the age of 60 and afflicts men more than it does women.
The health body Cancer explains that diseases that affect the larynx are considered glottic (vocal cord) cancers.
“These cancers are almost always glottic cancers that are found early because of voice changes,” explains the health body.
“They are nearly always curable with either endoscopic surgery or radiation therapy.”
Half of these cancers typically start to develop in the throat, or pharynx, the tube located behind the nose, ending in the neck.
The rest of the cancers typically start in the voice box, also known as the “larynx”, which explains marked changes to the voice.
WebMD warns that these “diseases tend to grow quickly.”
How to avoid the disease:
As with most forms of cancer, it is generally believed laryngeal cancer can be staved off by adhering to a healthy lifestyle.
Avoiding taboo products is paramount because cigarettes contain chemicals known to cause, initiate or promote cancer.
The Cleveland Clinic adds: “Drinking alcohol, especially a lot of it, also raises your risk. Using alcohol and tobacco together increases the risk even more.”
Interestingly, the healthy body adds that “some forms of HPV” (human papillomavirus), a sexually transmitted disease, can cause laryngeal cancer.
The Health body cancer.Net also lists occupational inhalants as a risk factor for the disease.
It explains: “Exposure to asbestos, wood dust, paint fumes and certain chemicals may increase a person’s risk of developing laryngeal and hypopharyngeal cancer.”
The health body adds that Plummer-Vinson syndrome, “a rare condition” that involves iron deficiency and causes difficulty swallowing, may be a risk factor as well.
Eating properly, mainly by reducing the consumption of saturated fat, cancer prevents the rapid proliferation of malignant cells that characterises the disease.
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