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Head and Neck Cancer

Throat Lump Biopsy Wait

01/20/2009

Question:

Last month my mother saw a specialist for pain she was suffering in her throat and hoarseness that wouldn`t go away. The specialist looked down her throat and told her that she had a big red lump on her voicebox and that she would need a biopsy, but that they couldn`t do it until after Christmas. It`s now been 4 months since she first noticed the pain and she still hasn`t been advised when the biopsy will take place. If it is cancerous how dangerous is it to leave it this long, and does it mean that the specialist thought that it wasn`t serious? She hasn`t been able to get any answers as she was told the doctor was `away sick` last time she rang.

Answer:

You are not giving us all the details, but regardless I am somewhat uncomfortable with this wait period. The combination of pain and hoarseness is worrisome for a malignant neoplasm. There is obviously no advantage in waiting. Your mother should contact the physician's office and ask when the doctor will be available and if not in the near future if she can be directed to another physician. If nothing happens she should look for another physician.

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Response by:

Pierre  Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS Pierre Lavertu, MD, FRCS(C), FACS
Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University