Researchers warn that a persistent sore throat along with shortness of breath, problems in swallowing or an earache may be signals towards laryngeal cancer rather than hoarseness alone.

Laryngeal or larynx cancer is a type of head and neck cancer, and its risk increases with use of tobacco products and excessive alcohol drinking. Hoarseness, on the other hand, is a symptom and not a disease, wherein abnormal voice changes occur.

The study conducted on 800 patients diagnosed with larynx cancer showed more than a 5 per cent risk of cancer when these symptoms showed, compared to 2.7 per cent for hoarseness alone. The research is published in the British Journal of General Practice.

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The findings will help in the earlier detection of cancer, which is the key to getting the best survival rates and health outcomes for patients. It will also give greater insight into the combinations of symptoms a general practitioner should be alert of when deciding whether the patient should be investigated for cancer or not.