Cancers of the throat may be discovered during a routine dental examination. If an abnormality is discovered in your pharynx or throat, you will be referred to your healthcare provider or a cancer specialist. Many people with throat cancer may seek medical advice due to persistent throat problems such as coughing or persistent sore throat, hoarseness of voice, and change in voice. If a lesion is found in the throat, the aim of your healthcare provider will be to rule out or confirm the diagnosis of cancer.
The doctor will examine you and ask questions about your past medical and surgical history, the medications you take; any family history of cancer, and your habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption.
Your doctor will recommend tests in order to rule out or confirm the diagnosis of cancer. Some of the tests which your doctor may recommend include:
After throat cancer is diagnosed, your doctor will try to determine the stage of the cancer (that is the size of the tumour, extent of spread, and the type of tumour). Staging is done using imaging tests such as CT, MRI, chest X-ray and bone scan and biopsy. Staging is done for all types of cancer as it helps to decide the treatment and prognosis.
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