Basically, an otolaryngeal tumor is a mass that develops in the ear, nose or throat – and, thus, it can be considered as a head and neck cancer, if it’s malignant. The tumor itself affects the soft tissues in head and neck causing a wide range of symptoms that affect quality of life.
In the following section, we will discuss the common signs and symptoms of otolaryngeal cancer. Keep in mind that many of these symptoms are also found in other medical conditions and, hence, it’s important to seek medical advice of the ENT doctor before jumping to conclusions.
Lump in the Neck
Before you panic, most lumps in the neck aren’t cancerous (i.e., benign) and are more likely caused by non-serious conditions, such as an inflamed gland. But if the lump in your neck persists for more than two weeks, or keeps growing in size, or isn’t painful even when firmly pressed, then you should see a doctor. You can’t let it fester, so to speak, as time is of the essence in cancer detection and treatment.
Lumps in the neck can be a sign of cancer in the nose, lymph nodes, and thyroid, as well as in other cancers of the ears, nose and throat. Your ENT doctor may be able to determine the cause of your lump in the neck from its position, too, and make an initial diagnosis of its type.
For example, if your lump is in your neck’s lower front part and it moves up and down when you’re swallowing, then it’s likely in your thyroid gland. Visual imaging exams, among other diagnostic tools, can confirm its location.
These typically happen when the nose lining suffers from a trauma due to an infection, allergy, and dry weather. For example, you may experience nosebleeds when you’re having a nose infection because you rub and scratch your nose more than usual.
But when your nosebleeds are persistent, or accompanied by unusual smell, or associated with headaches, or scanty, you have to seek medical consultation. You may or may not have otolaryngeal cancer but it’s important to have it checked nonetheless.
Mouth Ulcers and Swelling
If the lump in your neck is accompanied by ulcers, swelling, or soreness in your mouth, then you should have it checked, too. If the latter signs aren’t resolved within a week despite the use of medications, then you have more reasons to see your ENT doctor.
Difficulty in Swallowing
Dry throat, tonsillitis, and throat infections are among the possible reasons for your difficulty in swallowing food and fluids. But if you have a persistent feeling of something being stuck in your throat, you should see your doctor for a definitive diagnosis.
Your other symptoms, such as lump in your neck, frequency of nosebleeds, and ulcers in your mouth, will be considered along with your difficulty in swallowing. You may also undergo an oesophagoscopy, or a swallowing x-ray, to determine the cause.
If possible, you should write down when your symptoms started, as well as their frequency, severity and duration. The information will be useful for your ENT doctor during diagnosis.
Since ENT problem is quite different from case to case, it is suggested to consult an ENT Specialist for the appropriate ENT services.
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