Red flag sign in your throat could be a symptom of cancer, say health experts

People are being urged to watch out for signs of cancer that could appear in your throat
People are being urged to watch out for signs of cancer that could appear in your throat -Credit:Getty Images/iStockphoto

A symptom in your throat could be an indicator of a common cancer, according to health experts.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is the sixth most common type of cancer in the UK, but its symptoms are not as well known as other forms of the disease. It is also the 11th most common cause of cancer death, accounting for 4,900 fatalities every year.

According to the NHS, non-Hodgkin lymphoma develops in the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body. Therefore, the most common symptoms of the disease typically affect the lymph nodes, including in the neck, groin or armpit.

These nodes can become swollen if cancer is present. This is caused by a certain type of white blood cell, known as lymphocytes, collecting in the lymph node.

In some cases, an early warning sign could also be a sore throat, reports the Express. But Healthline explains, this depends on “where the cancer starts”.

Medical News Today adds that a sore throat and swollen lymph glands can be a sign of a “serious” health issue, such as lymphoma. However, a sore throat could easily be dismissed as a symptom of something like a cold or flu.

While a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes are warning signs of the disease, the NHS advises that these do not necessarily mean you have the disease as these glands “often swell as a response to infection”. Other signs of non-Hodgkin lymphoma can include:

  • Night sweats

  • Unintentional weight loss

  • A high temperature (fever)

  • Feelings of breathlessness

  • Persistent itching of the skin all over the body

Other symptoms depend on where in the body the enlarged lymph glands are (for example, swollen tonsils, a lump in the tummy, or skin rashes). A few people with lymphoma have abnormal cells in their bone marrow when they're diagnosed. This may lead to:

  • Persistent tiredness or fatigue

  • An increased risk of infections

  • Excessive bleeding, such as nosebleeds, heavy periods and spots of blood under the skin

The NHS says you should see a GP if you have any of these symptoms, “particularly” if you have swollen glands that do not go away after six weeks. “While these symptoms are unlikely to be caused by non-Hodgkin lymphoma, it's best to get them checked out,” the health body adds.