ENT Head & Neck Surgery Center

Rm 02, 5/F., Kai Seng Commerical Centre,
4-6 Hankow Road, TST Kln, HK
(near Kowloon Hotel)
Tel: (852) 3100 0555
Fax: (852) 3100 0556

Lawrence Chow / ENT Doctor

Who’s Likely to Get Throat Cancer?

Throat cancer is a scary ENT disease, not only because it’s the Big C but also because it can take away the capacity to speak! Take note that it occurs in the pharynx (throat) as well as in the larynx (voice box) or in the tonsils, all of which are important in the generation of sound.


Some people have higher risk for getting throat cancer. Let’s take a look at these risk factors as well as the symptoms of this ENT disease to look out for.



Risk Factors

Keep in mind that belonging to one or more of these risk factors doesn’t automatically mean that you will get cancer, 100%. Instead, these factors will increase your risk of getting the Big C because of the accumulated damage inflicted on the throat.


  • The use of tobacco products including chewing and smoking tobacco because it has nicotine and other substances that compromise the health of the tissues in the throat.
  • The excessive use of alcohol because of its adverse effects on the body, especially over a prolonged period.
  • The presence of the human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted disease, has also been shown to increase the risk of throat cancer.
  • The untreated diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) has also been shown as a risk factor in throat cancer.


Surprisingly, a diet with insufficient amounts of fruits and vegetables can also increase the risk of throat cancer! But this may not be surprising considering that a healthy body and, thus, a healthy immune system may decrease the risk of getting any type of cancer.



Signs and Symptoms

The specific location where the malignant growth occurs largely determines the symptoms that can be experienced. There’s also the matter of lumps in the neck or throat being an indication of an upper respiratory infection. The lumps may be caused by enlarged lymph nodes fighting off the infection, such as strep throat, followed by their return to their normal size once the infection clears.


But if a lump persists without the presence of an infection or even after the infection has been treated may be a warning sign of cancer.  The lump may or may not be accompanied by a thickness or swelling in the neck.


If you have the following symptoms along with a lump in your neck, then you should seek your doctor’s opinion. Early diagnosis and treatment is key in successfully overcoming throat cancer.

  • Difficulty in swallowing that persists for a few weeks without reasonable cause
  • Vocal changes like hoarseness
  • Feeling of food being lodged in the throat even after swallowing
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Mouth sores that either doesn’t heal with medication or easily bleeds
  • Red- and white-colored patches on the tongue, inside of cheek and/or gums
  • Feeling of numbness in the mouth or tongue
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Pain in the ears


Your ENT doctor will perform a series of diagnostic tests to determine the underlying cause of your symptoms. Keep calm, nonetheless, as throat cancer has several effective treatment protocols when administered properly and promptly.


Since ENT problem is quite different from case to case, it is suggested to consult an ENT doctor for the appropriate ENT services and treatment.



HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services


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