Signs to Look Out for with Oral and Throat Cancer


As your Oklahoma ENT specialist, we at OOA want to educate patients as much as we possibly can. While we are on the forefront of information about all things ENT, we realize that our patients do not always have the same awareness, and, this makes sense–this is part of what makes us experts in our field.

With that being said, sometimes people remain uninformed for a long time, unless a disease or disorder comes to their attention, either through a loved one being impacted by something ENT related, or unless something of or relating to celebrities shows up in the media.

The sad news is that Happy Days star Erin Moran died on April 22 of this year from throat cancer. According to reports, the throat cancer wound up spreading to other parts of her body, and thus leading to her death.

The reason we want to share about this tragedy here on this blog is that while we do know that the rate of throat cancer is going up, we also know it’s a treatable diagnosis. We only wish that Erin Moran had known what symptoms to look for, and had been able to get checked out sooner, in the hopes that her death may have been prevented.

Here is an excerpt from a recent article about what happened, as described by Erin Moran’s husband Steven Fleischmann:

“Moran woke up and found a dime-sized blood stain on her pillowcase, which she initially thought was because she’d bitten her tongue. When the blood on her pillowcase re-appeared several times over the next few weeks, Fleischmann says he finally took a flashlight to look in her mouth to see what was going on. Her left tonsils were incredibly swollen. “I thought it was tonsillitis,” he wrote.

The couple went to an ear, nose, and throat doctor, who took a biopsy and diagnosed Moran with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma. Moran underwent radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer was too aggressive and she died just a few months later. Fleischmann says that the coroner told him that her throat cancer had spread to her spleen and even to her brain. “It got bad so fast,” he wrote.”

This is a sad story indeed.

And—the good news is that the majority of throat cancers can be treatable if you spot them early enough.

There are signs the look out for—the biggest red flag for throat cancer is a painless lump in the neck that gets bigger over time, the key point here being “painless” (don’t start worrying if you have sore glands, as that could mean any number of things).

For more information on this, as well as preventative measures you can take, read the full article about Erin Moran and the recommendations that come with the article.

And, call OHC today to talk to your ENT doctor about any questions you may have, or to make an appointment if you have any symptoms that are causing you concern.


You may also want to read:
The Difference Between Strep Throat and Tonsillitis

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