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What causes tightness in throat?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2001
Answered : 2349 Questions
Question
Hi doctors,

I was hoping you could help me. About 8 or 9 months ago I went through a huge HIV scare and that caused me to a little tightness in the throat. Anyway it went away in May after my regular military physical only to return a few weeks later when I had more worrieds so I believe it is anxiety. Anyway for some reason I can't get larynx cancer out of my head. I have looked up symptoms such as persistent cough and sore throat, lumps in neck and so forth. Anyway the only real symptom I have had is this tightness in my throat. I think I may sound a little hoarse today and feel like something is in my throat but that only started a day ago. I fully want to believe it is just anxiety. I am a 24 year old male. I only drink in the weekends and smoke maybe once a month. I never inhale however and have only been doing so since maybe 20 or 21. I am very scared an was hoping for your advice.



I was wondering specifically,

Does this sound like cancer to you? I have no problems breathing or swallowing.

I have seen my military doctor here and after feeling for masses in my neck and looking down my throat he told me I didn't have cancer and not to worry, should I believe him?

I had a chest x-ray in late May that showed nothing out of the ordinary, would it have shown up on it?

Why is this type of cancer so rare in my age group?

What do you think my risk is?



I know I'm probably being crazy but I've been so worried. Any help will be appreciated.

I have asked this question once here and received a very good response. I just wanted another opinion as I am going into the field for two weeks and would like to have this out of my head.
Posted Sun, 24 Aug 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 32 minutes later
Brief Answer:
Laryngopharyngeal reflux/anxiety

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Thanks for posting the query. I have gone through your query thoroughly and understood your problem. I will try my best to help you with this problem.

The symptoms described by you seems to be related to either anxiety or Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)

According to the symptoms described by you, I doubt any laryngeal cancer.

LPR is a condition wherein the acid from the stomach regurgitates into the throat causing inflammation and swelling in the mucosa of throat. The swelling thus formed gives the sensation of lump in the throat. Also, the inflammation of the mucosa around the vocal cords makes the voice hoarse.

Apart from LPR, anxiety too causes throat discomfort, because of the spasm of the neck muscles and also increases the acidity.

I would suggest you to consult your doctor and get a thorough examination of your larynx.

Drink plenty of warm water, every day have food at the same time; avoid smoking, alcohol and coffee/tea.

Hope I have answered your query; I'll be available for the follow up queries.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes tightness in throat? 2 hours later
Thank you for your response doctor. Between my two military doctors and the one other doctor I spoke to on this site everyone seems to doubt cancer. I think it may be anxiety die to the fact that any "hoarness" from earlier has disappeared. Anyway I have quit smoking as of three weeks ago and scaled my drinking well back in the two years since college graduation. I only had two follow on questions if you don't mind answering them,

1. Due to the fact that I am at training I will not be able to see my doctor for another 3 weeks, in the small chance it is cancer, would the condition worsen in that small amount of time?

2. Just as to this type of cancer in general, I know that even for heavy smokers my age this is a rare cancer for us to get, I was wondering why it would be so rare for younger people?

These will be my final questions and I thank you for your time and expertise on the subject.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 11 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please see the answer below...

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Thanks for writing back. I sincerely apologize for the delay in answering your query.

1. A person with cancer of the larynx, the hoarseness gets worsened over a period of time. Associated symptoms such as difficulty in breathing, generalized weakness or weight loss and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck may also be seen. Almost, in all the cases of cancer larynx, the history of chronic smoking/tobacco chewing and alcohol will be there.

2. Cancer depends on the genes of the body. Some may smoke more than 2 packs of cigarettes per day for more than 20-30 years and would have consumed liquor for the same amount of period but, they will not have any cancer. On the other hand, few individuals may smoke very less and succumb to cancer. Hence, it depends upon the genetic make-up of the body.

Secondly, cancer is seldom seen in younger individuals, because, the assault on the tissues by smoking or alcohol will be minimal and the body tissues can recover quickly from the assault.

Do not worry! You may ask any number of questions, I will be glad to answer all your queries.

I wish you good health and good luck.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes tightness in throat? 3 hours later
Thank yo again doctor, I do have a few more questions after all.

1. My maternal grandfather had lung cancer due to smoking heavy in his 60s and my material grandmother had breast cancer. My fathers side of the family sometimes gets prostate cancer but no one in my family has ever had any type of throat cancer. Due to my family history, with both maternal grandparents being heavy smokers, with no one getting this type of cancer would that lower my chances or simply not increase them?

2. As stated in the first question I have had this feeling in my throat for a while, mainly due to anxiety thanks to the HIV scare, but not a single other symptom. When it says things like cough, sore throat, or ear pain that doesn't go away, does that mean if any of those symptoms were cancer then any sore throat or cough I would have had would still be present, or take longer than a week or two to go away?

3. In your opinion, am I probably worrying over nothing?

Thank you again doctor.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 14 hours later
Brief Answer:
Please see the answer below...

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Welcome back

1. Family history of cancer may hold well in certain types of cancer (mostly blood related) and not with cancer of the larynx. It is difficult to comment about the second part of the query, because, genes in the body determines the probability of the cancer. Your grandfather not getting affected by smoking doesn’t mean the off XXXXXXX will not be affected. The genes undergo changes from generations to generations, due to lots of environmental and dietary factors, hence the probability of getting cancer.

2. Yes, you are absolutely right. The symptoms mentioned by you would have remained or probably worsened as the days progressed. I doubt, you have similar features, hence, I could confidently say you were normal.

3. Yes, I do feel, your anxiety has take over your problems. Keep relaxed, everything will become normal.

Regards
Dr. Naveen Kumar N.
ENT and Head & Neck Surgeon
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: What causes tightness in throat? 13 hours later
Thank you again doctor, you have put me at a great deal of ease. Best wishes and thank you for all you do.
 
 
Answered by Dr. Naveen Kumar 6 hours later
Brief Answer:
Wish you good luck and good health...

Detailed Answer:
Hi

Welcome back

I am glad that, I could help you with this problem. I wish you good luck and good health.

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