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What are the symptoms of this cancer???

dep
Posts: 17
Joined: Feb 2003

I am just curious to know what kinds of symptoms you all had with head and neck cancer. My wife is the one I am worried about. She had breast cancer dx. 1995. She is now having pain when she turns her neck to one side and feels a heavy sensation below the right neck. She scoffs it off as "wear and tear" and is hesitant to go to a physician. I am just worried and hope you can give me some of the symptoms to watch out for. Thanks! Rich

lela
Posts: 1
Joined: Mar 2003

Dear Rich, I do not have head and neck cancer, but my husband has, he started out kind of losing his voice, first sqeekey, then afer about a year could not talk at all, had ear ache, pain in neck, trouble swallowing, and finally had to be taken to hospital because he could not breathe right, be careful with Dr's who diagnose this as larngitis, have all the cancer tests done, because this was not larngitis, hope this was helpful, and best of luck to you and your wife.

FPCdeacon
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 2003

I was biopsied in April 2002 after going through a couple of months with a sore throat that wouldn't go away. My voice was okay, but I would try to clear my throat quite often, but it didn't help. Then I started having trouble swallowing, and the throat was getting more sore, like a sore throat that wouldn't go away. (and it wouldn't!) I knoew it wasn't tonsils, because I had them removed when I was 5 yrs old (I was 47 at the time of this cancer). A biopsy revealed cancer (squamus cell) on the epiglotis. I saw someone else reply that you shouldn't wait to get it checked out and don't settly for laryngitis as a diagnosis. In my case, I only waited a couple months before I got serious about seeing an ENT doctor.
In hindsight, finding out sooner than later is always better, but it didn't make much difference in my case. My cancer was a very aggressive, fast-moving little bugger.
Don't fool around with any lingering symptoms like I described. See a doctor right away.
good luck to you! FPCdeacon

Going_Nuts
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

I realize this thread is really dated but I have same basic question with a few more detailed questions as well.

I have noticed over the past months that I have a harder time talking especially loudly. I feel like I need to clear my throat alot and when I do it usually helps but my throat get sore and feels scratchy and dry on my right side when I am talking and it has been feeling more uncomfortable more of the time (or I am keyed into it more). I don't know which. It seems like the more I think and stress about it the worse it gets until I feel like I have that "about to cry" lump in my throat and even my neck muscles in the front right start to feel tense and sore and my right ear feels kind of plugged up too at times. I also feel like my lymph node under my right jaw is sensitive not hard and sore but more noticeable than I remember it being (should I normally be able to feel these at all?)

I have been to the doctor GP and he looked with a light and thought it was nothing but suggested OTC gerd medicine but I kind of pushed for someone to look at it so he referred me to a ENT. I mad my appointment but thats in February and I am freaking out already.

Some specific things that I was wondering about...

My throat feels fine in the morning aside from being dry. Once I have coffee and cereal, I notice afterword a tingly itchy sensation on the right side by my adams apple. It does not hurt to swallow or eat in fact my throat and neck feels better after I eat or drink something.

I am an ex smoker and snuff dipper for 10-15 years and I also drink (sometimes too much) alcohol. I am also going through some pretty rough things emotionally right now. I want to think its just anxiety/stress or something other than cancer but I am really worried.

So, does any of this sound familiar to you all? Do you think I should just try to relax or go insist on being seen sooner? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Happy New Year BTW

edit: I forgot to ask how fast does this cancer become symtomatic? I had a endoscopy for gerd 2 years ago and they noted nothing except some minor irriatation at the bottom of the esophagus. I have pictures that they took of my vocal cords so I know at least they took a look at them.

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5604
Joined: Apr 2009

From reading your post is does sound like something is up and I do suggest going to see an ENT as soon as possible don’t wait till February that is too long from now. Don’t get afraid as sometimes there is nothing there and as you said you are under a lot of stress right now so that could be one of the problems. You said that you are an ex-smoker I am glad to hear you stopped, and I am sure you know how bad the alcohol is for your body so I will not say any more about that. What is your spiritual back ground I do not want to offend you or anyone else but Faith plays a major part in all healing.

Please get you appointment set-up with an ENT as soon as possible, tell him all the problems you are having and ask him to do a full scope of the Nasal Cavity and Pharynx, he can do this in his office. It is not comfortable to do but is should put your mind at ease.

I will keep you in my prayers, my God bless you

Going_Nuts
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

Thanks for the quick reply, I was hoping you would say it was probably nothing to worry about but I appreciate you honesty and advise. I was pretty insistent that I wanted the earliest possible appointment but Feb 3rd was the earliest they would give me. Do you think if I went to urgent care or the ER they would scope me there?

dianabquilter4
Posts: 25
Joined: Jan 2009

from what i read on these post i have all the sysptoms of the squasma cell ...thoat got really sore and had blisters all over the back and in my mouth...gp thought it was a allergic reaction to a new med....ended up in er the next morning was having problems breathing...they did a ct scan said i have a tumor they wouldn't do the biopsy said wait till after holidays didnt want to spoil my holidays with bad news so go this friday to set up biopsy. my thoat has been getting really dry waking me during the nite and i am having problems swallowing too,,i have pain on the right side of my neck like i held it in on postion too long at a time.. am having ear pain on right side too...sometimes it feels plugged and others it feels like its numb on the inside too ... keep losing my voice to laringitis all the time i have no tonsils either...sometimes i feel like i am going to choke when i try to eat...does this all sound like what you've had you all got me really worried now...i did hyave 3 drs tell me its cancer what kind of treatment is given for it i've already had uterine cancer sqmacell in 86 kidney in 05 and breastcca in 09 i am not looking forward to this....

Hondo's picture
Hondo
Posts: 5604
Joined: Apr 2009

It is hard not to worry when you read so much about different types of cancer and it all comes close to what you are feeling in you own body. But please hang in there and stay strong, focus on being positive no matter the outcome, you will have a lot of friends here who will help you get through this. I know you have been through cancer treatment before this is just another page in life.

Do you believe in God, it does not matter if you are a Christian or not right now it matters that you just talk to him. Explain your feeling and you troubles and rest your faith on his shoulder. You will get through this because you are a fighter

Take care and I will be praying for you my friend.

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

HI Going Nuts,

Symptoms vary greatly. If you are really concerned, let them know and try to get in to do a PET CT Scan which will give a 95% accurate picture of what's going on. This Scan will send a Radioactive agent around your bloodstream piggybacked on glucose and will stick to any cancer cells accumulated in your body and 'light up' on the scan.

An Endoscopic Exam may or may not detect something as this is less accurate but usually the first action the ENT will take.

My personal experience was I felt like had a mouth Ulcer way back in my throat for about 3-4 weeks before I poked my finger right back into my throat and actually felt the nodules of a small tumor. Went straight to an ENT the next day and had a Biopsy taken. Your irritation sounds further down so maybe difficult to do the same.

Hope you get an earlier appointment Maybe let them know you want a Scan done) and opportunity to find out what is causing your pain.

Regds
Scambuster

Going_Nuts
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

I will talk to my GP about the PET Scan but he was pretty sceptical about even giving me a referral to the ENT. I am on an HMO so I can push for tests but they usually refuse anything expensive.

I think my best bet might be to pressure the ENT for a quicker appointment.

Did you see my edit to my original post about having a endoscopy done two years back? Do you think most of these possible cancers would have been noticed then if they are symptomatic now? What is the timeline of these cancers from when they are first visible to when they would cause symptoms like I have?

I am not trying to find ways to blow this off just ways to stay sane until I can get it checked out. Thanks for the responses and your concern.

Scambuster's picture
Scambuster
Posts: 975
Joined: Nov 2009

HI G Nuts,

I had the Tonsil Cancer similar to Fishing Girl. My tumor was about 2cm x 1.5cm x 3cm. My ENT man and Onco's said it probably formed within the last 6 to 9 months. That said, your 2 year old Endoscope would be out of date and probably wouldn't be valid in case there is a more recent incidence of something sinister. I would push for the PET CT as the best way to ascertain what is going on.

Cheers
Scambuster

survivor383
Posts: 1
Joined: Apr 2003

After my laryngeal cancer spread to a right lymph node, I could feel a fullness in my neck when I turned my head.
Have her get it checked out. An ENT should feel for lumps or nodules. Also, a needle biopsy of the lymph node can be performed. Good luck.

scsimodem
Posts: 4
Joined: May 2003

Don't blow anything off as 'wear and tear' or other such nonsense, especially with someone who is at high risk. I had a lump on my jaw joint which I attributed to hormones, seeing as how I was a little new to the full effects of puberty at the time, and there it sat for 2 years. When that same joint got sore, I contributed it to particulary tough pork chops, but it didn't go away, so I told my parents. Within 2 months, a very stressed and concerned doctor hestiantly gave us the biopsy results of the 'cyst' he had removed. I am now coming up on my 5 year anniversary and I thank God every day that that joint ached, since without that, the tumor might have gotten near fatal before I realized anything was wrong. Tell her to see the doctor right away, whether it's wear and tear or not, the peace of mind alone will be worth the time and money spent.

tomalexander
Posts: 16
Joined: Mar 2003

I initially had no pain, only a small lump on the right side of my neck. Dr used antibiotics for two weeks and when the lump didnt go away, then they biopsied it and found it was squamous cell. Radiation(5 days a week for 7 weeks) and chemo(6 treatments-Cisplatin). During treatment, I became for all intentsand purposes, useless to my wife and children. All I wanted to do was sleep. Puked a lot due to the chemo.*Real rosy picture, huh? There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. It has been 10 months since treatments stopped, andthe last two pet scans have showed no traces of cancer! For awhile had trouble swallowing, but this is gradually going away. Voice sounds to me like theres a frog in my throat, but am used to that now. Keep your faith in God and continually ask Him for deliverance, and youll be surprised at the results. Good luckto hubby.

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi tomalexander. Did they not suggest surgery to remove the neck mass? If not, why not?

Thanks and best wishes for continued recovery.

Warmly,

Mick

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi Going Nuts. The thread is a bit confusing because the first post is from 2003. I suggest starting a new post to avoid people (like me!) from thinking it is a very old thread.

I had no symptoms. How I found it was a lump in my neck that wouldn't go away. By that time I was already stage 3-4. Eventually I got a biopsy and they found squamous epithelial cells from the nasopharynx in the lymph (now classified as a tumor).

You might ask your GP if there is a way for her/him to get the ENT to get you in sooner. My GP did this for me based on the lump. If you do not have any lumps, that is very good news.

Warmly,

Mick

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

I was diagnosed with Squamous cell carcinoma. Cancer at the base of the tongue, on the right side. My symptoms started out with just a sore throat, that went on for months, and gradually got more painful. Then towards the end (7 mos.) later, when I started treatment, my lymph node swelled up noticably. Also, as the lump (cancer) grew, I found it difficult to swallow, therefore started losing weight.

Cindy

Going_Nuts
Posts: 5
Joined: Jan 2010

Thank you for your response fishingirl. I really apreciate your help and I hope your doing better now.

micktissue's picture
micktissue
Posts: 432
Joined: Dec 2009

Hi fishingirl. They suspect my scc came from somewhere, perhaps the base of my tounge, but right now they cannot find the primary (known as an occult primary). Did they suggest a neck dissection for you? If they did, did you do it? What happened?

Warmly,

Mick

fishingirl's picture
fishingirl
Posts: 188
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Mick,no they did not suggest a neck dissection. I just had 6 weeks (5 days a week) of radiation. I went and saw my Oncologist about 1 month ago. He looked down my throat and saw that everything looked all clear. But now I have to go for an MRI at the begining of Feb. to see if I am totaly cancer free. In the mean time....I wait:)

Cindy

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