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Smoking and drinking alcohol at the same time increase the risk of throat cancer

3 months ago, Mr. NTN (53 years old, in Hanoi) appeared to have difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and weight loss. After that, he swallowed the pain increasing when eating and drinking. Mr. N went to the doctor and was diagnosed with acute pharyngitis, bought medicine but it didn’t help.

About 1 month ago, he had symptoms of increasing hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, more painful swallowing, poor appetite, 3 kg of weight, so he went to MEDLATEC Hospital for examination. According to the patient’s account, he had a history of frequent drinking and smoking for many years.

Doctor Do Tien Quan, Specialist in Otolaryngology, appoints the patient to have an ENT endoscopy and do some tests.

When examining the ear, nose and throat, the doctor found that the patient’s right neck area was swollen, with lymph nodes on both sides. Otolaryngoscopy, the doctor discovered a very large wart in the right lower throat, spreading around and into the larynx.

The patient was assigned a CT scan of the neck, CT of the chest. The results of CT scan of the neck showed that the patient had a large tumor in the hypopharynx spreading into the larynx and anterior soft part of the spine with many bilateral cervical lymph nodes. Chest CT scan showed suspected metastases in the lungs and chest wall.

The patient had a biopsy of the hypopharynx tumor, which showed squamous cell carcinoma. With the results of examination, biopsy, and CT scan, the patient was diagnosed with 2 cancers at the same time, which is cancer of the pharynx – larynx stage IVB.

This makes the patient and family extremely surprised because they did not expect that from common symptoms, they would have such a dangerous disease. After the complete results are available, the patient is consulted by the doctor and undergoes referral procedures for treatment under health insurance.

Dr. Quan said that throat cancer has early symptoms that are discreet and not aggressive, so patients are easy to ignore and do not go to the doctor. And laryngeal cancer often appears early with hoarseness symptoms, so patients should go to the doctor sooner.

However, laryngeal cancer grows slower than other cancers, easy to detect and timely treatment gives high results. Doctor Quan said that if laryngeal cancer is detected early, the cure rate is 80%. But in fact, there are many cases of subjective late examination, leaving unfortunate consequences, affecting the treatment results and the patient’s quality of life.

Doctor Quan warned that people should be wary of risk factors that cause cancer of the throat and larynx, such as: Drinking habits, smoking (both alcohol and tobacco use) have an increased risk of cancer. 3 times more. Occupational factors related to asbestos dust, nickel, chrome, sulfuric acid, plastics.

In addition, laryngeal cancer is common in patients over 55 years old, the risk of men is 4 times higher than that of women.

Both smoking and drinking alcohol are 3 times more likely to develop cancer of the pharynx - larynx - Photo 1.

People should go to the Otolaryngology Department every year to detect the disease early.

Because it is a common disease, but the signs are easy to confuse, so it is often overlooked, so Dr. Quan recommends that people should go for annual check-ups, especially those with high risk factors. Or you should immediately seek medical attention if any of the following signs appear:

For cancer of the lower throat should be alert for warning signs such as: Swallowing problems, swallowing pain on one side and spreading to the ear on the same side; eating poorly; unexplained weight loss; cervical lymphadenopathy on the same side of the lesion, in the late stage, there are bilateral cervical lymph nodes.

For laryngeal cancer, people need to go to the doctor right away when there are signs: Hoarseness (a common and sometimes the only symptom in many patients); Cough (a manifestation of many respiratory diseases such as pharyngitis, tonsillitis… and is also a common sign of laryngeal cancer, so it should be noted.In the late stages, patients have difficulty swallowing. allowing food to enter the airways causing coughing fits); difficulty swallowing (when the tumor has spread to the lower throat with signs of pain spreading to the ear); unexplained weight loss.

To prevent these two cancers, doctors recommend that people quit smoking and drinking alcohol, because these are the main risk factors for the disease. Use full labor protection in environments exposed to a lot of dust, toxic chemicals. Definitive treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease. Clean teeth, treat diseases of the nose and throat area thoroughly.

When symptoms appear hoarse, painful swallowing, swallowing difficulties, especially in men over 40 years old, who have a habit of smoking and drinking often, it is necessary to see an ENT specialist for early detection.

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