Throat cancer is one of the most common types of cancer. However, it is quite difficult to identify throat cancer from an early stage of the disease. By the time the condition is identified, it is quite late most of the time. Many people mistake throat cancer with cold or sore throat. They do not have a clear idea as to how throat cancer looks like.
So, to help you to identify whether your throat trouble is cancer or not, here is a brief discussion on how throat cancer looks like.
What does Throat Cancer Look Like?
Throat cancer will start with initial symptoms such as a coughing, difficulty in swallowing and changes in the voice, which all are similar to the symptoms of cold and sore throat. Speaking will not be clear and will sound hoarse, as in throat cancer, the larynx (the voice box) and the pharynx (the throat) are affected. Also, the tonsil glands will be affected. You will feel a limp in the throat and coughing will be chronic. Over time, there will be bleeding from the nose as well as mouth.
Externally, you will experience swelling in the throat, neck, jaws and even in the eyes. However, internally, in your throat, there will be a lump which is cancerous or malignant. Initially, the malignancy will be restricted only to the throat and no tumour can be seen. It is less than 7 centimetres in size. As the condition worsens and the stages are advanced, the tumour grows larger. The malignancy or the cancerous cells spread to the neighbouring organs and then even to the distant organs.
Throat cancer in the initial stages is quite difficult to diagnose clinically, only through symptoms and signs. However, when the condition advances, you will see that the neck is swelling. The tumour or cancerous lump expands in size and swells in the throat. That is why; you can see the throat expanding and the tumour pushing outwards through the throat. The tumours sometimes bleed and sometimes don’t. They can be slightly white in colour or yellowish, with pus and blood.
What are the Survival Rates of Throat Cancer?
When you are trying to assert how long you will live after being diagnosed with throat cancer, you need to know that there is no way that can be specified for a single person. This is because; survival rate depends on a number of factors. These would include –
- Your age
- Physical condition or fitness
Stage of throat cancer
Since these factors differ from person to person, there cannot be a single statistic that can determine as to how long you will survive after being diagnosed with throat cancer. Depending on the stage of throat cancer that you have been diagnosed with, the doctors may give you the number of years that you will live or survive for. This is an average number that most patients diagnosed with throat cancer in the particular stage have survived or usually survive.
Stage 1: 90% of throat cancer patients in stage1, survive for about 5 years or more, depending on fitness level and treatment.
Stage 2 and 3: About 60% of throat cancer patients survive for 5 years. In stage 2 and 3, the cancer starts to spread to the surrounding areas and organs of the larynx.
Stage 4: 40% of the patients in stage 4 throat cancer can survive for 5 years. At this stage, the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes and other parts of the body.
Here, it must also be mentioned that women are not diagnosed with throat cancer as frequently as men do. In general, the survival rate for men can be said to be only 1 year, for about 85% of all the patients post-diagnosis. 65% patients survive for 5 years and 55% survive for 10 years or more. However, all these statistics are for the male patients in England and Wales. In different parts of the world, the statistics differ to a great extent.
Also, the statistics are based on patients who were treated several years back. With every passing year, the treatment methods are being improved and therefore, the survival rates are also improving.