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If you have a constant sore throat, see a doctor
At a time when more and more people are contracting cancer, early diagnosis is becoming increasingly important. Therefore, doctors and patients should recognize the first symptoms that may indicate cancer. Researchers have now announced that persistent sore throats can be a warning sign of cancer.
The University of Exeter scientists found in their current investigation that people with persistent sore throats associated with shortness of breath, difficulty swallowing, or earache may have cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "British Journal of General Practice".
Sore throats don't always have to indicate cancer
Normal throat inflammation is usually not associated with cancer of the larynx, so those affected do not need to panic, the experts emphasize. However, it is important that the current study also provides evidence that supports the current recommendation to refer elderly patients with persistent hoarseness or sore throat to a specialist.
What is larynx cancer?
Larynx cancer is generally more common in men and is heavily associated with tobacco and alcohol use. If such cancer is found, radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy are mainly used for treatment. If the cancer is already well advanced, surgery may be necessary to remove part or all of the larynx, the doctors explain. Such people can no longer speak or breathe normally. They then breathe through a permanent hole in their throat (stoma) and need additional treatment to restore their voice. This can be a neck implant or an electrical device that is held against the neck in order to generate noise.
More than 4,000 subjects were examined
Research led by the University of Exeter examined patient records from more than 600 general practices and 806 patients diagnosed with throat cancer. In addition, there were another 3,559 control patients. The doctors were able to determine that hoarseness can indicate so-called laryngeal carcinoma and the likelihood of such laryngeal carcinoma increases significantly if there is also a recurrent sore throat.
What to do with a particularly strong sore throat?
The study shows the potential severity of some combinations of symptoms that were previously classified as low risk, explains study author Professor Willie Hamilton of the University of Exeter Medical School. It is not a mild sore throat, but the sore throat must be so severe that a visit to the doctor is necessary, emphasizes the expert. People are used to getting a sore throat from time to time, and sore throats reported to general practitioners are usually unusually severe, the expert adds.
Early diagnosis is very important
A combination of persistent symptoms such as sore throat, hoarseness and difficulty breathing or swallowing could be a warning sign of cancer, according to the researchers. New guidelines for early diagnosis and diagnosis are important for doctors in order to select the right patients for a referral. If cancer is diagnosed early in sick people, this will give access to fast and successful treatment. Therefore, it is recommended to examine patients with persistent hoarseness or unexplained sore throats for throat or larynx cancer. (as)