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358304 tn?1409713092

Health Anxiety Throat Cancer Anxiety Scared.

27 Male. Been on this site for a long time. I have been making MAJOR progress with my health anxiety. Even now, I'm doing okay, just feeling a little rough, but riding this evil wave of anxiety.

It all started about a week ago. One night my throat just started feeling kind of tight, and I think I was having post nasal drip. (I must add I'm a smoker, I know not good for me)

The next day same thing, tight throat, but all good.

Then for about 3 days, I developed a sore throat, but not like strep throat, nor like a dry throat? but maybe? I think too much about this kind of stuff. lol.

When I swallowed, my throat muscles felt tight, and my left side of my throat especially near my left tonsil area felt like something was there and making a cutting sensation when swallowing.

I've had tonsil stones before, and did find a few in my left tonsil, pushed them out (i know yuck) but that didnt help too much. Still felt this scratchy/cut/needle type feeling when I swallowed on the left side there. My glands in my neck are not swollen, but feel sore near my left ear and under my chin sometimes. But not a lot of pain, just a little sore sometimes. And my back has been kind of achy off and on.

Finally after about 2 or 3 days of pain on that side, it has gotten much better, but my anxiety has sky rocketed. I can't stop thinking about it, and

I keep thinking the IRRATIONAL THOUGHT "What if it's throat cancer!?" But I have to realize this could just be allergies. But I'm not suffering from sneezing and stuff, just minor ear pressure sometimes, and post nasal drip some?

Even now, when I swallow, I can't usually feel that scratchy feeling, but every now and then I do, and it freaks me out.

Also when I open my mouth wide on the left side near my tonsil (on my top pallet where it curves on the sides, it's a little red and swollen maybe? and when i yawn really big, I can feel it pulling and its kind of sore.

My throat today feels kind of tight still, but no throat pain or burning, and really no scratchy feeling. But im obsessed with swallowing etc. I HATE IT.

I've decided NOT to go to the Dr. b/c that is me letting my anxiety get to me! I have to realize this is ALL anxiety related and more than likely JUST ALLERGIES!

Can post nasal drip do this? and cause these kinds of feelings?

Should I just get it over with and go see a DR for peace of mind? Just so he can say "No, it's not cancer".

I hate it when I do this to myself!!! I've done SOOO good for a long time... now this.

I hate it b/c I've become OCD with my darn throat... everytime theres a mirror, I'm lookin in it opening my moutch, shining a flashlight in there, asking my wife if this looks bad etc. etc. I HATE wasting my days worrying over such nonsense.

Any comments to help give me some peace of mind would be appreciated. Thanks guys.
21 Responses
358304 tn?1409713092
I should add that the ragweed count here is high. Could this be irritating my throat?
Avatar universal
Hi.  Sorry you are going thru this, but don't be so hard on yourself.  The fact that it's improving is good!  I truly don't think it's anything serious, but I would see your doctor just for your peace of mind.  There are a lot of throat infections going around right now, and this may be the problem, or post nasal drip.  I just had the same thing, even lost my voice, but it ran it's course and I'm fine now.  So long as it's improving I wouldn't worry, it's when it doesn't we need to get things checked out.  Even this doesn't mean it's anything serious just stubborn.  I hope this helps.  Take care.
358304 tn?1409713092
Thanks so much for the peace of mind. I was just thinking that. If it were throat cancer, it wouldn't be feeling better, it would be getting worse. And it was only bad for about 2 or 3 days. If it were cancer it wouldn't come on really fast like that then leave. It would probably slowly progress and just get worse and worse.

The thing about going to the Dr. is that I probably go to the Dr about 10 times a year or more. lol. Due to my health anxiety. So I'm trying to conquer that. But if I just get miserable mentally I will probably go just for peace of mind.

But a part of me thinks its still silly b/c my throat is feeling much better just lots of phlegm and clearing of the throat.

I wish I could be like a regular human being who would just shrug their shoulders and get on with life over a stupid sore throat etc.
Avatar universal
Well, lots of phlegm explains it all!  Post nasal drip!  You are doing so well, don't allow a setback here and there affect you so badly.  You are still moving forward, concentrate on that!  Seriously, everything is life causes us to fall down at times, and anxiety is no different.  The important thing is that you keep getting back up, learn from it and keep going!  This is awesome!  There's nothing wrong with staying on top of our health, it's just learning when to worry, and when not to, and you're well on your way.  Kudos to you for this!  Take care!!!
358304 tn?1409713092
Yeah, you see, with anxiety, I jump WAY far to the WORST thought. And how irrational is it to think the 1st thing "Throat Cancer"? But that's what we anxiety sufferers do. Especially us health anxiety freaks. lol.

I've really done it to myself this time, my throat isnt even sore anymore, but still some post nasal drip...

But what I've REALLY done is made myself SO self conscious about my throat, and with my anxiety I've caused my throat muscles to become sore.. and SO TIGHT... they are so tight right now, and I know its just anxiety, b/c I can concentrate and RELAX them on demand, but once I stop, my throat tightens back up again, and I know that is just anxiety.

That happened to me last year, my throat felt so tight my gag reflexes were terrible.

Luckily I have Ativan, which I JUST TOOK 2 a few minutes ago, this should relax me some, and I'll sleep good tonight.

I know I'll get out of this little funk, and if I don't get out of it, or start spinning in a downward depression/anxiety.. I'll go see my Dr. so he can give me peace of mind for a $40.00 copay. lol.

It's amazing how SO many people can tell me "Hey, you are FINE, you don't need to see the Dr. it's all in your head!" but that doesnt help me too much, but when my Dr. tells me im fine and it's just anxiety, it's a road to recovery... but it get's expensive. lol.

Thanks for writing!
358304 tn?1409713092
Just got off the phone with my mom, who I love dearly. She know's I have a tendency to freak myself out irrationally.

I told her about my throat tightness right now, and it making my ears itch/kinda hurt like i need to pop them... and she said she's going through the same thing right now!!

She said her allergies make her throat feel so tight and throat muscles hurt when swallowing, dry dry mouth, just like me!

So that made me feel much better...

I always get anxiety with health symptoms ive never had before. But once I learn from them and realize they are normal, and get them again in the future, I learn not to be afraid of those symptoms.

So, this is a good example for me... I've never experienced allergies like this with my throat this bad.

Maybe I'll start taking Zyrtec tomorrow or something. Benedryl I can't do... makes me TOO groggy and sometimes panicky.
Avatar universal
oh you sound just like me i too am battling health anxiety and cancer phobia is my worst one i think youd be very young to have throat cancer i work on a head and neck unit and i see these kinds of things but your anxiety is flooring you like it does it starts with a little symptom innocent and you blow that up you are also hypersensitive to fear by then so looking for different sensations or pain and bingo its there the thought and it wont go and the more you get the worse it becomes innocent symptoms like a litle sore throat or allergy are potentially life threatening if you arent feeling well in a week or so go to dr for check up but im sure it will be ok God bless and keep fighting it
358304 tn?1409713092
you are right, it starts out with something little... then you blow it up and are so hypersensitive to the fear that the fear itself starts causing more symptoms, and then you start paying even MORE attention to your throat thinking up new feelings etc. then BLAM there ya go. Your in a hole of anxiety. lol.

My throat isnt sore anymore, like a sore throat sore, but now that my anxiety has taken over, my throat muscles feel TIGHT sometimes, and I hate it. But I know its just from anxiety now and stress. It's called globys hystericas or something like that. Just the tensing up of the throat due to nerves.

I'm going to be okay. =)
Avatar universal
Oh my gosh this sounds alot like me!! I have anxiety about my health as well!! My throat feels like something is stuck in it by my tonsills as well this has been going on for a long time!Had all the test for reflux tried meds nothing worked tests all normal blood tests normal urine normal cant find anything wrong, some days are better that others,but usually its always there, I keep thinking the doctors are missing something, but they say its just anxiety , but I don't know how anxiety can cause that symptom everyday even when I don't feel anxious!  I know anxiety can be a visious cycle, so I hear you with what our saying!! Keep up the good work!!
1081325 tn?1284763797
I have severe OCD and my main obsession is over cancer, so I can very much relate to you and what you're going through. It's a hell like no other! Like it has been previously stated, you're very young and the chances you have throat cancer are pretty small. That doesn't mean you should write off getting check-ups, only that you shouldn't worry about this particular problem. Post nasal drip DOES cause a sore and irritated throat. Whenever your throat is irritated it can cause swelling and irritation in your ears as well. Allergies can also cause this problem. And you're right, if this were cancer your symptoms would not subside, they would stay and only worsen over time, not get better. However, it's always a good idea to see a doctor anytime you develop a problem that lingers on without showing signs of improvement. Should your sore throat return and not clear up, then it might be a good idea to see a doc, but even then I wouldn't be concerned with the possibility of throat cancer. Post nasal drip, allergies and even gastric diseases and acid reflux disease can cause chronic sore throats, voice changes and other irritation. I have gallstones and it cause me to have chronic sore throats and swelling of the tubes in my ears. It feels almost exactly like having a cold.

Hang in there and good luck to you!
Avatar universal
I'm having the same thing right now.  My throat is tight and the throat muscles are achy, feels like there is something in my throat, feels like it is closing up.  I, too, have severe health anxiety.  It's horrible.  Last night, as I was falling asleep, it kept closing up.  I was FREAKING out.  I just knew it was going to close up while I was asleep and I was going to stop breathing and die.  I finally called the 24 hour nurse line that my health insurance company has.  I told her about the anxiety and what my fear was.  She told me to elevate my head by using extra pillows and to use a humidifier in the room.  She said my body would wake up if I stopped breathing.  I also think I have sleep apnea (which I'm having a sleep study for Saturday night) so that doesn't help matters any.  My dr recommended I up my prozac from 20mg to 40mg but I'm afraid to because it makes me so sleepy and I'm tired enough as it is.  Same with the Klonopin.  I'm supposed to be taking it every day but I don't ever take it because I'm afraid I will have some kind of reaction to it (I've never taken it before) and I've heard if you have sleep apnea, you are not supposed to take benzos, sleeping pills or muscle relaxers cause they can put you in such a deep sleep that you will not wake up when you stop breathing.  So, I'm just suffering and wishing this anxiety would go away.

In addition to the throat issues, I'm also having some kind of brain issues....hard to describe...similar to lightheadedness but a little different.  Its actually more similar to the brain zaps that happen when you try to stop taking an SSRI suddenly without weaning off of it only not as bad.  I'm so scared something is bad wrong.  I'm also seeing a cardiologist for skipped heart beats which actually preceded this episode of anxiety and actually somewhat caused it because when I told my doc about them, she said I needed to see a cardiologist.  He thinks they are not serious but that they might be cause by sleep apnea.....and worsened by anxiety.  I am so exhausted, achy and tired all the time even though I usually get 7-9 hours of sleep a night (usually, unless I'm having a freak out session).  And, on top of all that, my white blood cell count was elevated 2 months in a row and now my dr is sending me to a hematologist because I don't seem to have any infection and so she doesnt know why my wbc count is elevated (not really considered high, just elevated).  So, I am spending so much on medical bills and can't even afford to go to an ENT for the throat issue or a neurologist for the brain issue and try to keep telling myself they are due to anxiety but also really scared they are something more serious.

Wow, sorry this was so long.  I just needed to get some of that off my chest and I don't really have anybody to talk to about it.   My husband is not sympathetic about it at all.  He just tells me he thinks that I want something to be wrong with me.  He just doesn't understand...most people don't unless they have been there.  It helps to have others who do understand.
Im having the same thing right now as weel. Is nice to see Im not alone
Avatar universal
My name is Shannon and I too have health anxiety.my father died of larygeal cancer so I am constantly examining my throat and mouth.I too cannot pass by a mirror without opening my mouth and looking in.I've done the "flashlight" thing as well as standing in the back yard with a mirror looking at my throat my neighbors probably think I am nuts took the shade off a lamp and looked in there too.I spend about an hour a day in the bathroom staring at it in the bright light checking it so worried I will miss something.I too have tonsil stones in one tonsil and that one tonsil has always been twice the size of the other one.type in "assymetrical tonsils" on google and the first thing you get is damn cancer.
It doesn't stop there though for me unfortunately.
ANy new symptom of any illness and I think I have some horrible terminal disease.I am constantly checking my body,I check my moles every day,my gums,my throat etc.I got a small new mole on my arm and I had myself in a tizzy thinking it was cancer it was just a small normal mole but my mind went into overdrive.
It makes me crazy all this worrying.
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