Persistent sore throat, according to a recent research, can be symptomatic of cancer. The report states that if a nagging sore throat is accompanied with earache, trouble in swallowing and shortness of breath then it can be considered as a sign of cancer. Weilin Wu at Cancer Research, UK, however, has said that there is no need to be alarmed. “A sore throat on its own wasn’t linked to laryngeal cancer,” he said. “But importantly, this study also provides the best evidence to date to support the current recommendation to refer older patients with persistent hoarseness.”
Dr Elizabeth Shephard, the lead author, opined that it was one of the firsts to really look at all the symptoms that can be important for laryngeal cancer. “The significance of the study is that we’ve found that hoarseness is important for laryngeal cancer, but significantly the risk of having laryngeal cancer greatly increases when it’s combined with a recurrent sore throat,” she said.
Professor Willie Hamilton, one of the authors of the study and the clinical lead for the current guidelines from The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) emphasised on the importance of the research as it “has shown the potential severity of some symptom combinations previously thought to be low risk. When NICE guidance for cancer investigation was published, there was no evidence from GP practices to guide this – nor to inform GPs,” he said. However, he also maintained that they are considering only those with sore throat that is severe enough to go to the general practitioner.