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dochealey, Senior Consultant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 6815
Experience:  Physician and Surgeon
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I am very concerned about on ongoing problem with my ear and

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I am very concerned about on ongoing problem with my ear and neck. Twelve days ago, I woke up with severe pain on the right side in my ear, neck and the back of my throat (behind my tongue, felt like a swollen gland). The ear pain seemed to improve over the next couple of days, but the neck pain has continued. Then, the earache returned, so I visited the urgent care clinic. My neck hurts under my jaw line, toward the front (but before my neck begins) and then down my neck along the side/front. Advil seems to control the neck pain fairly well. It almost feels like pulled muscles or tendons at times. I have been coughing some in the night due to seasonal allergies, and I have sinus drainage on the right side only. I was diagnosed with an ear infection at urgent care two days ago, and am taking amoxicillin, but the ear pain has been continuing on and off. I do not have a sore throat (it's my neck). I will add that I do smoke, and have for 25 years, though I have been working on quitting for some time. I am a woman, 40 years old. My concern is that I may have throat cancer. How concerned should I be? I am terrifying myself, googling my symptoms. I have an appointment with a GP in a few days (the soonest I could get in). Also, how quickly should these antibiotics be working? When should the earache go away?
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Why do you think that you have cancer?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Mainly because I smoke, and because I'm not sure what could be causing my neck pain. It is a "new" pain--something I have not felt before. Also, my uncle had throat cancer two years ago. Googling my symptoms seems to inevitably lead to throat cancer hits.

Thanks for your reply.

You are right that smoking for such a long period is a risk factor for cancer but it is incorrect to ignore the obvious and go on thinking about something which is much less common and is not likely to present in the manner which you have described.

From the symptoms you have described infection is the obvious diagnosis and the one which has been confirmed by a doctor.

I will just try to explain to you why neck pain occurs with ear infection.Ear infection often involves the mastoid process right behind the ear.The neck muscles namely sternocleidomastoid attachés to mastoid process Therefore infection or inflammation of mastoid causes pain in the muscles which are attached to mastoid.And this is the likely explanation for your pain too.

Ear or neck pain is only one of the symptoms of throat cancer.Other more common symptoms are usually first to appear in a case of throat cancer.These include change in voice , hoarseness in voice, difficulty in swallowing, sore throat , weight loss etc..

Antibiotics should start showing some effect in 2-3 days time.If these are not causing any improvement you may need to go to doctor again as bacteria responsible may not be susceptible and you may need another antibiotic.
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