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Cold or cancer?

Winter is coming! You know what that means? Snow and Christmas! Hurrah! But on the not so positive note, it also means an increase in…


cold or cancer

Winter is coming! You know what that means? Snow and Christmas! Hurrah! But on the not so positive note, it also means an increase in people getting colds and flu.

I think most of you will agree when I say we don’t take colds and flu very seriously. It’s an excuse to buy some cherry Tunes and eat them all before midday, right? Snotty tissues, Vicks on your chest and a few days later you’ll be ryte as rain.

But stop.

Did you know that many symptoms of cold could actually be something more serious? Something as serious as cancer. I don’t know much about cancer, but I know one thing. One very important thing. The earlier you catch it, the easier it is to get rid of. So let’s educate ourselves.

cold or cancer

Laryngeal (larynx) cancer

This can also be known as throat cancer. Your larynx is part of the throat found at the entrance of the windpipe and helps you breathe and speak.

Here are the main symptoms of larynx cancer:

  • a change in your voice, such as sounding hoarse
  • pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing
  • a lump or swelling in your neck
  • a long-lasting cough
  • a persistent sore throat or an earache
  • in severe cases, difficulty breathing

See your GP if you have symptoms longer than 3 weeks.

Nasal and sinus cancer

A rare cancer that mostly affects men over 40, nasal and sinus cancer affects the nasal cavity and sinuses.

Here are the main symptoms:
  • a persistent blocked nose, which usually only affects 1 side
  • nosebleeds
  • a decreased sense of smell
  • mucus running from your nose
  • mucus draining into the back of your nose and throat

It’s time to see your GP if you notice unusual or persistent symptoms.

Nasopharyngeal cancer

Another rare type of cancer – this affects the pharynx (the part of the threat that connects the back of the nose to the back o the mouth).

The symptoms of nasopharyngeal cancer are:

  • a lump in the neck
  • hearing loss (usually only in 1 ear)
  • tinnitus (hearing sounds that come from inside the body rather than from an outside source)
  • a blocked or stuffy nose
  • nosebleeds

See your GP if you develop any worrying symptoms, particularly if they don’t improve after a few weeks.

Lung cancer

Lung cancer is one of the most common and serious types of cancer, with almost 50,000 people diagnosed each year in the UK.

The scary thing is that the early stages usually come with symptoms, but lots of people with lung cancer develop these symptoms eventually:

  • a persistent cough
  • coughing up blood
  • persistent breathlessness
  • unexplained tiredness and weight loss
  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing

So if you think the symptoms you have might be more serious than just a cold – get yourself to your GP.

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