Hi - just realized the topic heading in the message I posted a while ago may have been too broad and vague - perhaps that explains the lack of responses.


So am re-posting below with a new subject heading.

Hi there,

I'm getting really freaked out about some symptoms I've been having for about ten days, to the extent that it's starting to impact on my ability to concentrate and work properly.
I'm male, live in Australia, just turned 44. I don't smoke now - gave up when I was 36. However, I'd smoked on and off before that since I was 21. I'm not a heavy drinker - basically a social drinker, who sometimes goes weeks on end without having any alcohol. However, when I was younger, esp during my student days there were times when I'd drink quite a bit, although not on a regular basis.

A couple of weeks ago I had travelled to another state on work. On the airport shuttle I was sitting next to, and talked to, a woman who had a really bad sore throat and flu. Two days later I woke up with a sore throat myself. Initially I didn't think much of it, but started getting concerned after the sore throat didn't follow its usual course of runny nose, sneezing, cough, etc. Moreover, the sore throat seemed to be more on one side - the left side. It persisted, bad especially at night. One night there was a bit of blood in my saliva (I was paraniod so had kept checking). This freaked me out so I went to see my GP straight away (this was earlier this week, on Tuesday). He had a look and said that the throat was really inflammed, and put me on a course of antibiotics (Clarithomycin). He said that the bit of bleeding may have been due to how inflammed and congested my throat was. He did however give me a referral to an ENT specialist - initially I couldn't get and appointment until September, but after I pleaded with the secretary that it was urgent, managed to be fitted in on 30 July.

After taking the antibiotics presicribed by my GP for a few days, the inflammation and sore throat subsided. There's also been no more blood in my saliva. However what has continued, and has really been worrying me, is a slight discomfort (not to the extent of pain) and weird feeling on the left side on my throat just above the adam's apple. It seems to come and go, worst when I wake up during the night. During the day however it comes and goes. It's most noticeable when I swallow saliva. However, there's no problem with swallowing food or liquid - don't feel anything, just when swallowing saliva. I am so worried that it's throat cancer, particularly given my past history of smoking. Not being able to see the specialist for another two weeks is really compounding my anxiety.

I know that my symptoms are all the ones for throat cancer, but is there any possibility it could be due to something else? Is there anyone on the forum who had similar symptoms that turned out NOT to be cancer? Also, how quickly could a throat cancer grow to the point of becoming visible? The reason I ask is because I had an endoscopy done twice in the pasy year - once in December and once in mid-April - as I thought I had the symptoms for oesophageal or stomach cancer. The endoscopies were normal, showing just that I had a hiatus hernia and reflux (for which I've been put on nexium). Persumably as the two GI doctors who did the endoscopies in December and April would have had to have gone in through the throat they would have noticed any abnormality in the throat too?

The other thing is, since yesterday I've noticed a slight bump on the roof of my mouth, not painful but I can feel it if I put pressure on it with my tongue. Could the two be related (e.g. the cancer spreading), or would they be separate?

Any thoughts on the matter would be really appreciated.

Morry
Original Post
hi there
well my first sign that something was wrong was a feeling of fullness in the throat like something was stuck plus a lot of cattarh build up in the throat.then my glands on the left side of my neck grew to the size of 2 eggs.i was diagnosed with base tongue cancer a few weeks later.lets hope yours in nothing but a strep throat easily cured,all the best shirl xxx
Thanks so much Shirl - appreciate your best wishes Smiler. Keeping my fingers crossed, but still can't help but feel really scared. at the same time, I tend to have a personality that often bodily feels symptoms for conditions that don't exist - two years ago I'd convinced myself (even to the extent of experiencing bleeding and pain) that I had rectal or colon cancer. The colonoscopy found nothing. The same thing happened with the endoscopies I underwent for my concerns about stomach/esophagus cancer earlier this year. But this time, the symptoms seem even more real.
Hello Mori

i have deleted your earlier message since it is being replied here.

It is inevitable that many symptoms and signs of a cancer and other conditions (of lesser significance) overlap. If worried, it is better to have an investigation even if it turns out to be negative. All one can do is to listen to the body and take appropriate action to help it. In these matters it is better to be wrong than right. Your doctor should be able to give you the right advice. Do let us know how you get on.

Best wishes
Vinod Coffee
I know my father had a minor sore throat - his first sign was a gland sticking out of the side of his neck - while it was quite large it was not painful. Antibiotics had no effect for him at all.

I agree, and think it is important to listen to your body but try not to stress as stress is never good for the body. I guess I just wanted to respond to let you know you are not alone Smiler
Thanks Dr Vinod and 'Helping Dad' for your positive words. Yes, I have made another appointment with my GP later this week, and am seeing the ENT specialist early next week.

In the meantime, over the past two days or so the symptoms seem to be dissipating - not absolutely gone (still get that feeling sometimes at night) but much, much less than earlier. 'Helping Dad' did your dad's symptoms (sore throat, etc.) go away (or get much less) before re-appearing, or did they get progressively worse?

Anyway, thanks to both of you again. Keeping my fingers crossed
no- just a very minor sore throat - very minor - like i said the big problem was that THING sticking out of his neck - he wasn't too concerned because it did not hurt but the docs did not like that - if it hurt they said it was more likely to be infection but because it didn't hurt they moved him along to the ENT - gave him the antibiotics for "fun" but they had no effect - let us know how your appointments go SmilerSmiler
Thanks for your concern Helping Dad Smiler.

My symptoms seem a bit different from your dad's - no protruding lymph glands for instance. Antibiotics seem to be helping the symptoms in my case. After I stopped taking them after finishing the first course the pain came back again. Saw the GP again, who had a look at the throat and said that the inflammation's still there, so put me back on a second course of antibiotics. Since going back on the antibiotics the condition seems to have eased again.

Anyway, am seeing the ENT specialist on Tuesday, so am crossing my fingers for that. Will keep you updated.
Mori,

Mine started with a minor sore throat - nothing that hurt but was annoying. I went to the doc, was told it was a virus and because antibiotics aren't used for viruses, was sent home to suck on cough drops. The sore throat persisted for a few weeks with an added ear ache feature - it was as if a line was drawn from the side of my throat straight to my ear. Again, it wasn't painful, just annoying and also sporadic. Went to the doc again, same crap answer. Went a third time, this time hot and armed for bear, and delving a little deeper, a mass was found where my left tonsil would be if I still had tonsils. Was referred to an ENT who immediately thought it could be cancer, had a biopsy, and was told I had cancer. There were only 3 days between the flaky doc and the final diagnosis - it was a whirlwind! I had no visible signs or swollen glands or any of the many possibilities that point to oral cancer - just a sporadic sore throat that wouldn't go away.

Obviously I'm glad I didn't take the first doc's 'virus' diagnosis. I've never been a hypochondriac and have in the past had to be talked into going to a doc - this time my gut told me there was something wrong and I pursued it. I was lucky - stage 2 tonsil cancer, no node involvement, no surgery, no chemo, only the standard 35 day rads. My last treatment was on April 4 and subsequent checks show NED (no evidence of disease). Without my persistence, I doubt my outcome would have been the same.

If you continue to feel there is something wrong, get a second or third opinion, see a dentist as well as a doc, see all specialists available. If your NHS or insurance doesn't pay for it, do it yourself - it's too important to set aside. Be demanding; even be obnoxious if you have to - you're entitled to be so at least once in your life. The good news? Most times it's not cancer! If it works out that way, don't resent spending the time or money - the mental relief you get far outweighs the expenditure.

You'll find as many stories as there are posters on this message board; they're all unique.

Take care of yourself, do what's best for you, and best of luck to you. Be sure to let us know what the doc says on Tuesday.

Mimi
Hi Helping Dad (& others),

Thanks so much for your concern. I had my ENT specialist appointment yesterday. Needless to say I was freaking out in the days leading up to it.The night before the appointment, I could barely sleep I kept waking up every hour or so.

The ENT doctor asked me about my symptoms and decided that the best thing would be do do a scope straight away. It was not the most pleasant of experiences - unlike with the endoscopies and colonoscopy I'd had done before where they knock you out, the sedative spray used for the throat scope was really mild. So I could feel the thing going in through my nose and down into the reaches of my throat. The doctor said he had a look at everything including the voice box.

It turned out that things looked standard - there was no evidence of a tumour or anything sinister, and he said the throat lining looked normal. As I'd gone in expecting the worst, what he was saying took a bit of time to sink in, so I had to confirm it with him a couple of times before it made sense. He thought (as my GP had) that the symptoms were due to a bad infection - apparently this winter in Australia (it's winter here now)there's a nasty bug that affects the throat going around. He did say that if symptoms persist for over a month to go back and see him and have a CT scan done.

Fortunately, as I mentioned in my last post, although the symptoms still come and go (especially at night/early morning), with the second course of antibiotics they seem to have eased quite a bit. So hopefully they will resolve in the next few weeks. I am still a bit baffled why there wasn't the usual sequence of progression from throat symptoms to a cough, runny nose, and other flu like symptoms, though.

Dr Vinod, if you read this, do you have any idea what other conditions may have caused the symptoms I described? Also, in terms of future strategies, what would be good by was of preventing the likelihood of oral/throat cancer developing? As I said in my first post, I stopped smoking 8 years ago, and don't drink alcohol, except once in a while, socially. I have however being using mouth washes like Listerine and breath sprays which contain alcohol. I'm going to stop using those and switch to non-alcohol based mouthwashes.

Finally the other issue this 'scare' has made to conscious of, is the level of 'cancerophobia' operating in our society, something I guess aggravated by the excess of information available on the internet. In my own case, as I mentioned in my first post this is the fourth time I've bodily experienced what I've been certain are cancer symptoms, but turn up showing nothing. So in the past two years, I've undergone a colonoscopy once (for what I thought was bowel cancer), an endoscopy twice (for stomach and then esophagus cancer), and now this throat scope. A fifth time, I thought I had bladder cancer, but fortunately a normal urine test, put a halt to those concerns (and the associated symptoms I was experiencing). Each time I've had these potential canancer concerns I've got family and friends worried too, but now with this latest false scare, everyone's starting to treat me like a hypochondriac. I'm worried now that I'll end up like the boy who cried wolf once too many times!

So, any advice on how to balance between, on the one hand, being too obsessive and paranoid about evey symptom, but at the same not ignoring signs till it might be too late, would be appreciated.

Thanks again, esp to you Helping Dad for your concern. Hope things go well with your dad.

Best wishes
Morry Smiler
Hey Mori,

sorry it's been a bit since I have been able to get back to you but had to move my mom (who has MS)and the further progession with my father for his treatment. I think it is positive for you to listen to your body to remember not to stress - if you do have something going on the stress will only make it worse. Sometimes we can creat our own destiny with our crazy thoughts - the spouse thinks their loved one is cheating and becomes so obsessed and possesed by it that finally the loved one does cheat because they can not handle the spouse. You could become so obsessed with an issue it blinds you from seeing a reall issue. Stay calm, stay positive, stay informed!!

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