Overview text of throat conditions

Mr Hollis is trained in the diagnosis and early management of benign and cancerous conditions arising in the head and neck. Although most head and neck cancers occur in the elderly often with a history of smoking, serious conditions can occur in young and otherwise healthy patients. As with all cancers, prevention is better than cure and early diagnosis generally leads to a better outcome. If you have worrying symptoms it is much better to be seen at an early stage to offer reassurance that symptoms are innocent rather than delay the diagnosis of a potentially serious condition.

Facial Skin Cancer | Lump in Throat | Mouth Lesions | Neck Lumps | Parotid and Submandibular Salivary Gland Disease | Sore Throat | Swallowing Problems | Thyroid Disease | Voice Problems

Facial Skin Cancer

Most skin cancers occur in the head and neck region of the body. Most cancers occur in more elderly patients but there has been an increase in the occurrence of all skin cancers, especially in younger patients as a result of excessive exposure to sunlight (ultraviolet light).
Any non healing growth or lump on the skin of the face or neck should be assessed by a doctor. A mole which changes in colour or size or which starts to bleed needs an urgent assessment especially if associated with a lump in the neck.

Lump in Throat

The feeling of a lump in the throat is a common complaint in adults and is usually harmless. The symptom is more worrying when associated with the following; earache, difficulty in swallowing, weight loss, painful swallowing particularly when on one side of the throat and of course, in patients who smoke. A lump in the throat requires a thorough examination, including an endoscopic examination of the lining of the throat. The symptom is often due to benign conditions but always needs appropriate assessment by an ENT surgeon. In addition the throat and oesophagus may need examining with a barium swallow test or rigid endoscopy under general anaesthetic.

Mouth Lesions

Any lump, red or white patch or ulcer that has persisted for more than four weeks requires further assessment.

Neck Lumps

Most neck lumps are benign and include lumps in the parotid and submandibular salivary glands, thyroid gland as well as lymph nodes in the neck. Occasionally a lump in the neck may be cancerous. All patients require a thorough history and examination and usually an endoscopic examination of the lining of the nose and throat. In addition, a needle sample of the neck lump may be required.

Mr Hollis works closely with a Head and Neck Multidisciplinary Team including oncologists, radiotherapists and other allied health professionals such as Macmillan Cancer Support.

Parotid and Submandibular Salivary Gland Disease

Most lumps in the salivary glands are benign and include swelling resulting from the formation of stones which block the drainage of saliva into the mouth. Tumours of the salivary gland require assessment usually with a needle biopsy and ultrasound scan or MRI scan. Malignant tumours of the salivary gland are rare.

Sore Throat

Sore throats may be due to conditions such as the common cold or tonsillitis which if occurring frequently may require tonsillectomy. A persistent sore throat, lasting more than four weeks, needs further assessment by an ENT consultant.

Swallowing Problems

Causes of swallowing problems are diverse but may include acid reflux, a pharyngeal pouch or more serious problems including throat or oesophageal cancer. Difficulty in swallowing, particularly true obstruction of swallowing and regurgitation of food needs further assessment.

Thyroid Disease

Enlargement of the thyroid gland is called goitre. This may be related to a diffuse enlargement of the whole gland or due to one or more nodules in the gland. Most thyroid nodules are benign, but all need assessment because some are due to serious conditions. Goitre may simply require monitoring but usually needs investigation with ultrasound scanning and needle biopsy testing. Rarely do goitres cause obstruction to breathing or swallowing difficulties.

Voice Problems

The causes of a hoarse voice are varied, and include benign conditions of the voice box (larynx) such as vocal cord nodules, polyps and cysts. Sometimes surgical treatment is required with a microlaryngoscopy. Any persistent hoarseness, lasting more than four weeks, requires further assessment by an ENT consultant.