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Could it be throat cancer?

My mother is 60 yr old and has been a 2 pack a day smoker for over 40 yrs (she quit a month ago!!!). She hasn’t been to a doctor since I was a kid. I finally convinced her to go because she had a ct at the emergency room for a severe uti and they found that she has severe degenerative disc disease. When she went to the doctor they were more concerned that she has had a sore throat, trouble swallowing and ear pain for months. She hadn’t told anyone about this before. She just doesn’t complain about things. So an ultrasound showed enlarged lymph nodes. She had tonsils removed when she was a kid. The doctor is seeing her next week and asked that I be there to discuss the next steps. I work in healthcare so I know that there is a real possibility of pharyngeal or esophageal cancer. I have 4 siblings that I haven’t discussed the possibilities with yet and I’m not sure if I should until I have a diagnosis or prepare them now. What are the chances that it could be something totally different and my mind is just overreacting?
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