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How to detect throat cancer?

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Answered by

ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2360 Questions
Will a ct scan of the neck/ larynx with contrast show any cancers?
Mon, 11 Jun 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 2 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes, CT Scan with contrast can detect tumours...

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for posting the query

Yes, CT scan can definitely help in identifying the presence of tumours in the larynx and neck. Contrast material used will enhance the presence of growth as well as a the lymph nodes affected by it. A tumour growth above 0.5-1 cm can be easily picked up in the CTscan. This can also help in staging the tumour.

Recent advancement with PET scan can help in detecting the location and also spread of tumour any where in the body.

Hope this answers your query. I’ll be available for the follow up queries.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How to detect throat cancer? 18 hours later
The ct neck/larynx scan with contrast I had said I have bilateral tonsillar calcifications. Everything else was unremarkable.

What is the best way to treat these?

Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
Tonsillar calcification is secondary to presence of tonsi stones

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for writing back

The tonsillar calcifications are usually considered harmless. The calcification is due to presence of tonsil stones in the crypts of the tonsil. Malignancy of the tonsils presenting as calcification is very rare. In case of malignancy, there will be enlargement of the lymph nodes draining the tonsil.

Tonsillar stones can be removed by the doctor by scooping it. Maintenance of the oral hygiene and thorough rinsing of the throat after the meal can reduce the formation of tonsillar stones.

Recurrent formation of tonsillar stones can be treated with complete excision of the tonsils.

Hope this clarifies your doubts.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How to detect throat cancer? 2 days later
Thanks doctor, I appreciate your thorough responses. Ive had some intermittent throat pain and ear pain for the last 5-6 weeks. I initially went to my doctor in mid November. He ran blood tests (all normal results) and also sent me for a CT scan of neck / larynx with contrast and the results were as follows.


Bilateral tonsillar calcifications are present consistent with past inflammatory episode. No abscess present. The parapharyngeal fat planes are intact and symmetrical.
No abnormality detected in the visualised lower brain, nasopharynx, oropharynx, larynx, thyroid, right and left submandibular and parotid glands. No calculus seen. There is no cystic or solid or suspicious mass. No cervical lymphadenopathy. The carotid arteries and internal jugular veins are within normal limits. Lung apices are clear. No foreign body or abnormal soft tissue gas. Petrous temporal bones appear clear. There is a retention cyst or polyp in the right maxillary antrum and some minor mucosal swelling in the left maxillary antrum. No bony destructive lesion or fracture seen. No retropharyngeal abscess. There is no evidence of Ludwig’s angina.


The pain then appeared to subside after a few days.

On 22 December, I was then admitted to hospital to have my gall bladder removed. Upon waking from the operation I noticed a very severe throat pain which radiated to my ears again. I noticed my left tonsil was red and had congealed blood on it.

I recently went in for my post operative check up and explained my concerns to the doctor and he said that I had a level 2 intubation and it appears they may have irritated my tonsil and throat during intubation/anaesthesia. He prescribed some antibiotics which I’ve been taking for a couple of days.

The antibiotics appear to be helping and the pain is now no longer severe and is at a lower level but it is still there, after eating and after taking a deep breath. I also notice it is more present when bending my neck forward. So I’m hoping the antibiotics will continue to improve the situation.

Also, About 6 months back I was diagnosed with reflux which I wonder if this is contributing to all of this.

Do you have any thoughts on this?
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 17 hours later
Brief Answer:
Intubation trauma and acid reflux disease

Detailed Answer:

Thanks for writing back

1. The recent episode of throat pain following intubation is due to trauma to the laryngopharyngeal inlet. This is one of the commonest problems post intubation. For this I would have reassured the patient, advised him to drink frequent sips of warm water and put him on good analgesics. Usually, one recovers from this problem within a week.

2. As your CTscan findings are unremarkable, the recurrent throat pain could be attributed to the acid reflux disease. A course of potent proton pump inhibitor and a prokinetic can alleviate your symptoms.

Do not worry, there is absolutely no signs and symptoms of head & neck cancer. Have a great day.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How to detect throat cancer? 10 hours later
Thank you doctor, I appreciate your thoughtful responses and reassurance

So the throat and ear pain could both be reflux related?

Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 37 hours later
Brief Answer:
Yes, the ear pain could be secondary to the acid reflux disease...

Detailed Answer:

Welcome back

My sincere apologies for the delayed response

Yes, the throat and ear pain is secondary to the acid reflux disease. Acid regurgitation into the throat causes inflammation of the mucosa of the throat. As the throat and the ear share a common innervation, any inflammation in the throat, the pain can be perceived in the ear also.

Secondly, the acid regurgitation in the throat can cause inflammation of the nasal end of the Eustachian tube (the tube connecting nose and the ear) leading to ear block and pain.

Hope this answers your query. Wish you good health.

Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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