Throat cancer one of the most likely to go unrecognised

18 August 2021
1 min read

Amanda Pritchard, the new head of the NHS in England, has recently urged that people do not delay seeking medical treatment when suffering from stomach pain or a cough that does not go away, as these could be symptoms of cancer.

The BBC reported that whilst “cancers detected at an early stage can often be treated quickly and easily, research suggests three in five people don't want to bother the NHS, while others are simply not aware of common cancer symptoms.” It also reported that Amanda confirmed cancer services were now "running at full speed with new, innovative ways of working in place.”

The broadcaster went on to say that, “Over the past year, 10 per cent fewer people than normal have started cancer treatment in England and people are being encouraged to come forward.”

Experts believe abdominal cancers, including throat cancer, are the most likely to go unrecognised.

For throat cancer, symptoms can vary, however Macmillan Cancer Support explain signs include “a painless swelling or lump in the neck, a sore throat or tongue, difficulty swallowing or moving your jaw, changes in your voice and fluid leaking from your ear.” (These symptoms are not exhaustive, and more information can be found on the Macmillan website here). This information can be shared with patients to help detect early signs.

Whilst there is no national screening for mouth and throat cancer, Cancer Research UK explains that there are still a few things patients can do to detect early signs of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. These include “having regular dental check-ups, at least yearly (even if you have false teeth) and checking the inside your mouth with a small mirror to look for changes.” Both of these can be encouraged by those in the dental profession.