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What are the signs of throat cancer?

Throat cancer is a condition that affects the tissues in the throat, voice box, or tonsils. If left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body and cause serious health problems.

Throat cancer risk factors and symptoms

There are less studied risk factors like drinking yerba mate and eating a diet low in some nutrients found in green leafy vegetables, but some of the known risk factors for throat cancer include:

  • HPV infection
  • Smoking and tobacco use
  • Chewing stimulants such as tobacco, betel quid, and gutka
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Diagnosis of GERD or other conditions that cause frequent vomiting or acid reflux


Symptoms of throat cancer depend on the specific area being affected. Common signs include:

  • Chronic sore throat or bad breath
  • Chronic nasal congestion and stuffiness that may worsen with time
  • Difficulty swallowing, or pain with swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Hoarseness, difficulty speaking, or changes in the way your voice sounds
  • A lump, sore, or mass in the back of the mouth, throat, or neck that doesn’t go away
  • Trouble breathing or noisy breathing
  • Trouble moving the tongue or opening the mouth fully
  • Unintended weight loss


Throat cancer screenings and diagnosis

Screening for throat cancer can help detect the disease in its early stages when treatment is most effective. A doctor may perform a physical exam and ask about symptoms, as well as perform other tests such as:


Throat cancer treatment and surgery

Treatment for throat cancer depends on several factors, including the type and stage of the cancer, as well as the patient's overall health. Common treatments include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy 

In some cases, the multidisciplinary team at St. Luke's Health—consisting of oncologists, primary care providers, radiologists, and other specialists—may combine treatment options to develop your recommended treatment plan. Talk to your primary care provider for more information.

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the cervix, which is the lower part of the uterus. It often develops slowly and may not show any symptoms in its early stages. However, if left untreated, it can spread to other parts of the body.

Cervical cancer risk factors

Several factors can increase the risk of developing cervical cancer. Some of the most common ones are:

  • HPV infection
  • Having the first full-term pregnancy before the age of 17
  • Having three or more full-term pregnancies
  • Long-term use of birth control pills
  • Smoking
  • Weak immune system
  • Family history

Cervical cancer symptoms

In the early stages, cervical cancer may not cause any symptoms. However, as the cancer grows and spreads, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause
  • Pain during sex
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic pain
  • Periods that are longer or heavier than normal

Cervical cancer screenings and diagnosis

Regular screening is crucial for detecting cervical cancer early, when it is most treatable. The following screening options are available:

Cervical cancer treatment

The treatment for cervical cancer depends on several factors, including the stage of the cancer, the woman's age and overall health, and whether she wants to have children in the future. Your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy

If you or a loved one has concerns about cervical cancer, speak with an oncologist for more information. Our team of oncologists at St. Luke’s Health is trained to diagnose and treat cervical cancer and can provide you with personalized recommendations. Speak with your primary care provider about any questions or concerns you may have about cervical cancer, as early detection and treatment can greatly improve your chances of recovery.

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U.S. News & World Report

Home of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, one of only three NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in Texas, U.S. News & World Report has accredited Baylor St. Luke's Medical Center as one of the best hospitals for several specialties, including previous accreditation for compassionate patient-centered cancer care.