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Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2010

I wanted to ask all of you for some advice. I am a 28 year old female who has smoked for about 15 years now. I did start very young and wish to god I never did.

About 3 months ago I started to notice this feeling of a lump in my throat when I would swallow I didnt really pay much attention but then it started to hurt about 2 months ago at first only when I would swallow and then all of then time. Soon I was having terrible headaches every single day somewhat like a sinus headache and then my gland in my neck and right below my left ear became swollen and the one under my ear hurts and even more so if I drink something sweet. Then i noticed that the glands in my armpits / side of breasts were hurting. I am getting home from work absoultey drained of all energy and notice a fever that comes and goes.

I had a script for amoxicillian that I began to take thinking it must be a very bad sinus infection. When I had been taking them for a week and nothing changed and also started to have to clear my throat all of the time to get my voice to sound normal and began with a cough and weezing sound I thought I need to go to the doctor.

My doctor is on vacation so I saw the one that is taking patients while he is out. He ordered blood tests as said something about Lupus he said he would check for my thyroid and infection and anemia. Also had me go have an ultrasound on my breats. He gave me a stronger antibiotic avelox a nose spray (even tho I am not congested) and midrin for the headaches. The midrin did not work at all I called and he gave me Vicodin which finally made my head feel somewhat better but still not great. A week after taking the Antibiotic the nose spray and vicodin I still do not feel any better at all and my voice seems to be getting worse the lump / sore throat is still there the headache is still there etc etc I called to see if my blood test were in and they said that they are all normal. I know something is definatley not right. I asked the doctor if I could have cancer and he never said no all he said was I have not lost much weight.

I asked for a referral to an ENT and they said I cant get one until my doc returns from vacation on May 24th.

I am wondering if my story may sound familiar to any of you. wondering if it does infact seem like throat cancer. And wondering If I should go to the er or what course of action any of you could suggest for me. What did you go through before you were diagnosed?
I dont want to sound like I am paranoid, I just cant take feeling this way any longer and seem like I have exhuasted all other possibilties.

God bless all of you, brave strong people on this message board and I thank you so much in advanced for any advice you may have!

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Hi Sarah,
You are definitely not paranoid and should be concerned with your condition. It could be a number of things causing those symptoms.

I don't understand why you couldn't get an ENT referral ??? That would normally be the first call and then the ENT would normally scope you and also either do a biopsy and or/order you to get a PET/CT scan which would determine if you had a positive reading for cancer, or eliminate that possibility. If the lo-*** doctor won;t refer you (??) I would try to contact your doctor and have him instruct that Doctor to get you the referral.

Most cancers do progress slowly but you still are better to reduce the risk be seeking the earliest confirmation you can. The earlier, the better.

Some others may post here with advice how to navigate through your medical system.

Hope it's a good result.


GRAVEY's picture
Posts: 83
Joined: Jan 2010

General Practitioner Docs only real line of defense is to throw antibiotics at what ever you bring to them, but be persistent, get to an ENT, he/she will be able to scope your throat(look down it and see what that lump is) he may want to do biopsies, but your lymphatic system definitely seems to be trying to fight something off. I had smoked since I was 15, quit the day before my 30th birthday, I told my self the next cigarette I smoked was the one that would give me cancer, and I quit that day. I, 5 years later, noticed a lump in my neck, my GP doc threw antibiotics after it, and it wasnt until I had the lump completely removed<(which turned out to be a swollen lymph node) by my ENT that I found out it was a cancerous lump. So yeah, get to an ENT, may be nothing at all, the key it to not let it persist, get it addressed as early as possible. With cancer, their is no too soon, the longer you wait, the worse it gets, the cancer will spread, the treatments for said cancer will only get more involved and painful and miserable.

God bless and let us know how it goes.


Kimba1505's picture
Posts: 557
Joined: Apr 2010

You are very smart finding your way here for support. I am new to these boards myself (1 month) and it is part of my day starting with my morning cup of coffee. I agree with all that was said above...pursue this and speak up. We need to advocate for ourselves at every level of care, whether it is your primary physician or higher up in the medical chain.
Don't wait until the 24th. Get that referral for THIS week. We are all wishing you the best.
Please keep us informed.

sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Sometimes you need to push. You know the saying, "The squeaky wheel gets the oil"? Start sqeaking! Yes, those are major red flags, I am sorry to say. I am shocked that you did not get a refferal for an ENT right away. In fact, the comment about you have not lost much weight???? The fact that you have lost any weight is not good. I had stage 4 cancer and mine, I just found one little swollen lymph node on my left side of my neck. I did not think anything of it, and I waited 3 weeks. Doc gave me enough antibiotics to fell an elephant, and when nothing happened I new that was not good. I think it was 800 mg of augmenton. She put me on more antibiotics, even stronger, and sent me for some tests, one of which was a CT Scan. They won't do a PET before a CT usually. PET is way more expensive. And my doctor reffered me to an ENT right away, in fact, when that apppointment was going to be too far out, and they could not push me in earlier, they had me go to another hospital! Don't wait. I am glad I ended up at the hospital I did. I found lump the weekend of 10-9-08. Went to PCP about 3 weeks later. I had two CT Scans in December. ( I am allergic to contrast dye. First one was done without dye. Second test they wanted better images and made me take a bunch of anti-meds so I would, hopefully, not stop breathing during test) My then swollen lymph node i had in october, was now a tumor on the side of my neck the size of a large lemon by the end of December. I had a fine needle biopsy, and it showed SCC. I had a Pet Scan the very end of dec begin of january and they could not find anything else, no primary. Only tumor lit up. January 8th, they went in and did exploratory biopsies, lungs, esophogus, etc. Nothing. Found no primary. Next day, modified radical neck dissection. I was in hospital 4 days, and got out the DAY BEFORE the date that the original ENT could fit me in for an appointmet. Glad I did not wait on first hospital.

As I said, I am not trying to scare you, but you need to get serious with these people and get to an ENT, or at least get a CT Scan. Is this doctor at a private practice? Partnered with anyone else? I would ask to talk to them. I would not talk to front office staff, maybe ask to speak directly to the nurse, they have a doctors ear better. I would call back everyday. Nicely, lady like, and very insistant. I have to say, I have never had that problem. My doctors have always known that I know my body, and I was such a workaholic, and if I was there, there was a damn good reason. One time my doc opened up the door to the exam room, and said by way of greeting, "this aughtta be good, you are never here unless your about dying." which was true.

Let us know how you make out, but stay on it, and don't let them tell you no.

delnative's picture
Posts: 450
Joined: Aug 2009

Make some noise. Stamp your feet. Do whatever it takes, but get thee to a doctor!
I don't understand why they're putting you off the way they are. My first symptoms were a sore throat (which I stupidly ignored too long), followed by some blood in my saliva or phlegm (which I also stupidly ignored) followed by a scary amount of blood in my throat that sent me to the ER.
They did a CT scan right then and there, and told me it most likely was cancer. They referred me to an ENT who saw me in a matter of days, and a few days after that I had my tumor out.
This is not something you want to put off.
Good luck, and keep us informed.

--Jim in Delaware

Scambuster's picture
Posts: 973
Joined: Nov 2009

Sarah, One sign to look for in the case there is a growth and it is exposed to the throat cavity, it bad breath. You may not detect it so maybe ask someone to let you know. Most tumors have some necrosis i.e. the cells die off due to lack of blood supply. They basically just rot on your throat and that will cause clear halitosis. If any tumor exists beneath the surface, then this sign may not be present.

Weight loss would not be an issue until later in the game so that is ot an indicator the Doctor should judge on in my view. Change Doctor.


sweetblood22's picture
Posts: 3228
Joined: Jan 2010

Did not know about this symptom. I do disagree about unintentional weight loss as a symptom later in the game. Unintentional weight loss is often one of the first symptoms in a lot of illnessess especially with women, and should not be ignored.

Posts: 6
Joined: May 2010

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and advice. I have to go to a managers meeting in Phoenix for two days I fly out Tuesday and return thursday but have decided to go to the doctor get my blood test results and take them with me to the ER an demand tests as soon as I get back. I had such a horrible headache today that I stayed in bed all day and noticed it was hard for me to swallow food when I tried to eat dinner. Whatever is going on it is not normal and i need to have it looked into further right away. I have 3 beauiful children one only 5 months old and I cringe at the thought of not being around to watch them grow up It makes me so sad even thinking of something like that.

Again Thank you all so much and I will be sure to let you know what happens.

God bless you guys!

debbiejeanne's picture
Posts: 2804
Joined: Jan 2010

Sarah, your symptoms do not sound good, unfortunately. With my throat cancer, I had lost 20 pounds w/o trying so that worried me a little. I thought, something must be wrong b/c I don't lose weight, unfortunately, I gain it. Then my voice was hoarse and wouldn't get better. Went to pcp and he treated me w/antibotics for 2 wks but no better so I went to the ent. He scoped my throat, found a spot, biopsied it and it was cancer. I am post treatment (radiation, 35 trmnts) 7 months now. I'm glad I didn't wait. It is true, we HAVE to advicate for ourselves!!! Personally, if it were me, I would have it checked out before leaving town.
I wish you the very best and will keep you in my prayers. Please update us when you know something either way. I will pray it is not cancer!
God Bless,

Pam M's picture
Pam M
Posts: 2193
Joined: Nov 2009

I'm with the others. Your doc should have sent you to an ENT. Mine said that "until we are sure it's not cancer, we should assume it is. that's why I sent you to (The ENT)". With me, it was stage IV, and I was not losing weight.

Seems to me, an ENT may be able to help make a correct diagnosis (hopefully not cancer). After he detected swelling an inflammation in my throat, my ENT ran some tests the first time I saw him, and within a couple of days, I knew I had a cancerous growth. This is a month after an Urgent Care facility doc put me on antibiotics for my "swollen lymph node" due to infection".

Again, hoping what you've got going on is quickly treatable.

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