I'm really scared about throat cancer

Hello. I'm 27 years old. I smoked on and off most of my teenage years and quit when I was 19. For the past year, I've noticed my voice is getting more hoarse when I talk a lot and I constantly have to clear my throat, for feeling that it has a lot of mucus in it that I can't seem to clear out or swallow.

I've seen an ENT about it, three or four months ago, and he looked down through my nose at my throat with that special scope they use. He didn't seem concerned and told me he didn't think it was cancer, but acid reflux.

However, the medicine he prescribed to me doesn't really work. I still clear my throat, get hoarse, and feel like I have mucus in my throat.

I have anxiety really bad and don't really want to go back to the doctor because it takes everything out of me. But I'm also really scared of cancer. My step-mother died from cancer.

What else could it be? Should I worry?

12 Replies

  • I would try not to worry if ya had throat cancer your lynth nodes in neck near you jugular would look like a line of various size pop corn under skin going down neck.

    If doctor as seen you he would checked .. as you had camera that can make stuff in throt feel raw.

    Could have reflux cause by nose driping down back of throat like he said

  • All our bodies have mucus as part of our natural systems. Lungs, throat, sinuses etc all rely on mucus so as to work properly. Unless it suddenly changes colour or contains blood then you should not worry.

    Regards Rib

  • Hi try not to worry. Acid reflux can cause this problem if the medication is not working see your Dr & they will be avle to prescribe another one thst might suit yiu better. I hope you get this sorted. I have to take Gaviscon Advanced after every meal & not eat anything after 7pm & its worked!

  • Sounds like you need to go see the doc. It could be somethng as simple as allergies, which are eadily treated. Dont worry about it being throat cancer or any other form of cancer, thats just causing you stress which will make yout symptoms worse. Your step mother isno blood relation remember so theres no family markers there. You could go to a chemist and get some piriton for allergies and some sudafed to help get rid of the mucus if you dont want to see your doctor, but hes the best place to start

  • There are two kinds of reflux - gastro-oesophagal reflux where you get heartburn. And laryngo-pharyngeal reflux (LPR or silent reflux, so named as you don't tend to get classic reflux symptoms e.g. heartburn), which is when the upper oesophageal valve is not working properly and letting acid get into your windpipe. This causes hoarseness, sore throats and lots of mucus with throat clearing. It's also what the nasendoscopy you had is checking for. If your doctor had any doubt he would have sent you for further tests.

    Try raising your bed 7 or 8 inches at the head end and try sleeping on your left hand side. This helps as the entrance to the stomach is slightly down from the top on the right hand side, so it will be higher and gravity will help keep the acid in the stomach. As someone's said here, leave 3 hours after your final meal of the day before you go to bed.

    I take a PPI (Lansoprazole) in the evening, and if I need more, then Gaviscon Advance after meals, though this should be taken at least an hour before taking your reflux medication.

    Patient.co.uk have discussion sites about reflux, and a good one in the U.S. is RefluxMD. There's one on Health Unlocked, but I haven't found it very active (could have changed by now!)

    Good luck :)

  • Very informative reply O2. My lesson for today 😃 . I didn't realise there are two types.

    To Jharpah, I hope you can find a way to stop worrying about cancer. Breathing techniques are very valuable in helping to control anxiety - look on YouTube for demonstrations, practice several times a day until they become second nature. You are young so try everything you can to break the cycle and enjoy the rest of your precious life.

    Anxiety is horrible, it causes stress which in turn causes all sorts of health issues. Wishing you strength to change your life in tiny steps. Good luck. P

    PS you stopped smoking! Fantastic, if you can do that you can do anything 😃

  • Have you had a blood test? I had similar symptoms a few years ago and a blood test determined I had an under active thyroid. I know when my thyroid starts acting up when I get hoarse! Good luck.

  • Might sound simple, but have you tried cutting dairy out of your diet? Several years back, I suffered from constant acid stomach but it stopped when I cut out butter from my diet and has never returned. A little while after that, I began to suffer from an excess of mucus (couldn't clear my throat at all) so I cut out practically all dairy, especially cheese, and the problem went away overnight. What you have described reminded me of my own symptoms so hopefully it is nothing more than a sensitivity to dairy - certainly worth checking out anyway.

    Take care,


  • Hi, anxiety is something I was experiencing only a few days ago, with the support and advice I got here has calmed me down considerably. my condition is not the same as yours so I cannot help you that much. However, you are doing the right thing by talking about it and this place is the TOPS. I see many people have given you some solid advice. My advice is talk to your doctor about your anxiety, and please stop looking at all these adds on TV that talk about cancer the one where someone is coughing all the time is an example of bad advertising as this kind of stuff makes people scared and nervous about something that could be anything other than cancer YES see a doctor when you feel something isn't right but don't automatically think it is cancer. My father died of heart failure due to smoking Now I have proplems but try not to connect the two..NO it isn't easy but please do try.

  • I have similar symptoms and take musinex as often as reccomended on the bottle. It clears up most of the mucus for me by letting me cough it up. Not a doctor, don't prescribe, just suggest.

  • Several years ago I had this issue but also felt like there was something stuck in the lower part of my throat that would not go down. I also was loosing my energy. I went to the doctor only to be told I was depressed and needed antidepressants. I knew I was not depressed but that something was really wrong. I decided to go to the library and look at the medical journals to see what it might be. I found information on thyroid goitered and then called a med search line and explained my situation. They got me an appointment with a surgeon. He did testing and said I was correct and did a needle biopsy. It was cancerous. Not just one type but two. I had my thyroid removed and underwent oral radiation. That was in 1998. I came back in 2004 and I underwent radical neck dissection.

  • Barry McDonaghs book called DARE is brilliant for anxiety sufferers like you and me. I have improved greatly since joining his Facebook for anxiety sufferers and reading this book. You're fear of cancer is probably linked to your anxiety, although everyone does fear it of course, but the fear isn't normally excessive. My husband had your symptoms -he has an abnormal fear of cancer, but once he had been reassured enough times, the symptoms disappeared!

    Your surgeon reassured you it isn't cancer, and he does specialise in ENT so you can trust him.

    Maybe you could ask for a telephone appointment with your GP and ask for a different medicine for acid reflux. I hope this helps.

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