If These 2 Body Parts Hurt You, It Could Be a Sign of Cancer, Study Says

Research shows that simultaneous pain in these two areas could be a cancer warning sign.

Some cancers are easy to detect due to an abnormal lump, a new mole, or dramatic weight loss. But unfortunately, there are others that are more difficult to spot because they don't always come with obvious signs on your body's surface. Over the years, experts have researched and compared subtle symptom combinations to help give more insight into what can signal a specific cancer, and one recent study found that pain in two body parts could be an early warning sign of one cancer in particular. Read on to find out what soreness could serve as a warning that you should get checked out, and for more risk factors to be aware of, If You Notice This on Your Skin, You Could Be at Risk for 13 Cancers.

If you have a persistent sore throat and earache, it could be an early warning sign of laryngeal cancer.

Young woman have headache migraine stress or tinnitus - noise whistling in her ears.
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Researchers for the University of Exeter set out to discover more about the symptoms of laryngeal cancer in 2019, publishing their findings in the British Journal of General Practice. Between 2000 and 2009, the researchers looked at more than 800 patients diagnosed with cancer of the larynx, which is also known as the voice box at the front of the neck. They found that a persistent sore throat may be an early warning sign of larynx cancer if the pain is combined with at least one other symptom.

In particular, the research showed that someone who had a sore throat alongside an earache (also known as otalgia) had a 6.3 percent increased risk of it being laryngeal cancer. The researchers said that doctors "consider the possibility of laryngeal cancer if sore throat and otalgia occur together in an adult." And for more symptoms of another common cancer, here are 17 Subtle Signs You May Have Breast Cancer.

Two other symptoms combined with a sore throat may also be warning signs of laryngeal cancer.

Young adult man suffering from sore throat
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According to the University of Exeter study, doctors should especially consider laryngeal cancer when patients report a sore throat combined with a few other seemingly low-level symptoms, in addition to an earache. Both recurrent shortness of breath and problems swallowing are two other symptoms of laryngeal cancer that may also present with a persistent sore throat.

According to the study, all three of these symptoms combined with a sore throat proved to be greater indicators of laryngeal cancer than just hoarseness alone, which is what many doctors are told to look out for. But, as the American Cancer Society explains, hoarseness typically only occurs early for laryngeal cancers that form on the vocal cords, or glottis.

For cancers of the larynx that start above the vocal cords (supraglottis) or below (subglottis), hoarseness isn't a good early indicator. "Our research has shown the potential severity of some symptom combinations previously thought to be low-risk," Willie Hamilton, MD, one of the study's authors and a professor at the University of Exeter Medical School, said in a statement. And for more health concerns, If You're Sweating at Night, It Could Be a Sign of These Kinds of Cancer.

There is no regular screening test for laryngeal cancer.

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According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are about 13,000 new cases of laryngeal cancer in the U.S. every year. It also results in about 3,700 deaths annually. There is no regular screening test for laryngeal cancer, which can make it harder to detect early. That's also why monitoring the aforementioned symptoms and discussing them with your healthcare provider is important. "Early detection and referral in primary care is crucial to avoid diagnostic delay—one of the main predictors of poor prognosis in laryngeal cancer," the study states. And for more up-to-date health news you need to know, sign up for our daily newsletter.

There are several risk factors that may make you more likely to develop laryngeal cancer.

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The main risk factors for laryngeal cancer are smoking or using other tobacco products, according to the American Cancer Society. However, moderate to heavy alcohol use—which is defined as more than one drink a day—can also put you at an increased likelihood of developing the disease. And if you use tobacco and drink, you have an even higher risk of developing laryngeal cancer, according to the organization.

Excess body weight, being a man, and being over the age of 65 can all increase your risk of laryngeal cancer as well. And for more factors that can play a part in your cancer risk, know that If You Have Type A Blood, You're at Higher Risk for This Kind of Cancer.

Kali Coleman
Kali is an assistant editor at Best Life. Read more
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