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Feeling something stuck in throat while swallowing. Concerned about cancer?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
Answered : 2447 Questions
Dr. Bhatti,

For the past 4 weeks I have had the feeling of something in my throat when I swallow. It is not painful and I show no other symptoms. Eating food is not a problem and I think I feel it less when eating actually. Just an annoyance of feeling something on the right side of my throat when swallowing. I am seeing an ENT this Friday but wanted to get an opinion first on what this could be. I saw my PCP last week who ran full blood work. Everything was normal. He doesn't think it is anything major but I have decided to go to an ENT anyways. I am a social drinker and social smoker (10-12 packs a year) so I am obviously concerned it could be cancer. I have been worried for weeks now. Any ideas?
Posted Mon, 17 Jun 2013 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 10 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Get a Videolaryngoscopy done. This is a quick ans simple examination which will immediately address most of your worries. You may upload the images and video here for an opinion.

2. There are many conditions which may lead to a nagging, painless 'foreign body' sensation in the throat which does not interfere in swallowing and actually feeling better while eating. At your age, cancer is way down on the list. The notable common causes are:
a. A small area of lymphoid hypertrophy in the throat,
b. An abrasion or ulceration due to an allergy, mild infection or hard foodstuff passing through the throat (including an actual foreign body).
c. LPR or Laryngo-Pharyngeal Reflux of acid and digestive enzymes from the stomach into the throat. This does not have the traditional symptoms of heartburn seen in esophageal-reflux-disease/0000" >GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease).
d. A Post Nasal Drip (PND)
e. The Palatine Tonsil itself, tonsilloliths or an underlying enlarged styloid process
f. Snoring and Sleep related Breathing Disorders (leading to a dry throat),
and so on.

3. What is your occupation, environmental exposure and BMI (Body Mass Index)? Your risk of developing cancer as a social drinker and smoker is very low. It will be better to get that direct ENT examination and settle the issue.

I hope I have answered your query. If you have any additional questions, I will be available to answer them.

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