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Lump in Throat

By Tyler Christopher

What is lump in throat?

Lump in throat may be a true mass or knot in the throat (throat cancer), or just a feeling that is felt like as a "lump in throat". The latter is often called "globus hystericus" due to the psychological or psychosomatic influences. More than half of the humans have the feeling of lump in throat at least once in their life. One of the main causes are associated with psychological and neurological disorders, the others indicate a presence of the throat cancer, esophageal cancer, inflammation of the throat, acid reflux, etc.

Many reasons can be responsible for the feeling of lump in throat. About globus hystericus, that causing the lump in throat sensation are usually in association with neurological, mental and sensory disorders. That is a common, abnormal problem, affecting about six percent of the population. Women affected is much higher than that of men, especially in the 30-40 years old. In this case, no true lump in your throat, and it's just a sensation. The lump in throat feeling can be felt like a golf ball, tennis ball, or furball stucked in throat. Moreover, it may also be accompanied by throat irritation, discomfort in throat or neck, tight feeling in throat, feeling of suffocation.

Lump in throat and Throat cancer

In throat cancer, the lump can be located in supraglottic area, vocal cords, subglottic area.
In supraglottic throat cancer, patients often have foreign body sensation in the throat and pharyngeal discomfort in early stage, later sore throat, may radiating to ear leading to ear pain, still later in late stage, bloody sputum, hoarseness and difficulty in breathing.
In glottic throat cancer (vocal cord carcinoma), the first symptom is hoarseness. In late stage, difficulty breathing, laryngeal stridor, throat blockage and bloody sputum may occur. The patients can consciously discover the lump in throat, with the size of throat cancer gradually increasing.
In subglottic throat cancer, often no throat cancer symptoms in early stage. In late stages, the patient has difficulty breathing and lump in throat feeling. When throat cancer involving the thyroid and anterior neck tissue, there is a lump in neck.

Causes for lump in throat

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Neurological abnormalities of throat
  • Hysteria
  • Psychological disease
  • Schizophrenia

The above causes can be summarized as "globus hystericus".

  • Upper respiratory tract infections (pharyngitis, laryngitis, common cold, tonsillitis)
  • Neck diseases
  • Thyroid diseases (e.g. Goiter and thyroid cancer)
  • Heartburn
  • Throat cancer, vocal cord cancer, thyroid cancer, esophageal cancer
  • Spastic neuromuscular disease

If you are aware that you have a lump in throat, whether true lump or just sensation, you'd better contact a ENT-doctor for special examination.

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