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Throat cancer symptoms: The most common symptoms of the deadly disease

Symptoms of throat cancer vary, depending on which part of the throat is affected. The sooner cancer is discovered by medical professionals, the sooner treatment can begin. But, first, you need to know when to seek medical attention.

Thyroid cancer

Thyroid cancer begins in the thyroid gland, at the front of the neck just below the voicebox.

This type of cancer affects around 3,400 people each year in the UK, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

The most common symptom of thyroid cancer is “a painless lump in the neck that gradually gets bigger”.

Squamous cell carcinoma

Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the “thin, flat cells of the mucosa, which lines the oesophagus”.

This tends to occur in the upper or middle part of the oesophagus.


Adenocarcinoma develops “from glandular cells” within the throat; there are other more rare types of oesophageal cancer, such as small cell cancer.

Tracheal cancer

This type of cancer beings in the windpipe (i.e. trachea) that connects the mouth and nose to the lungs.

It splits into two tubes (the right and left bronchus) which joins the lungs.

Tracheal cancer is more common in people over the age of 60, especially men.

Placed in front of the food pipe, the trachea is about five to seven inches long, made up of tough, fibrous cartilage.

There are seven main symptoms of tracheal cancer, which are:

  • Breathlessness
  • A cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Wheezing or noisy breathing
  • A hoarse voice
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Fevers, chills and chest infections that keep coming back


Even though these symptoms can be caused by other health conditions, it’s imperative to get checked over by your doctor.

If you notice any of the warning signs of throat cancer, do book a doctor’s appointment.

It’s not unusual to request a telephone consultation with your doctor before being invited into the GP clinic.

For more information on throat cancer, and how it’s treated, please visit Macmillan Cancer Support.


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