Sometimes a little hoarseness is nothing more than the result of overusing your voice, but it can also be the first sign of throat cancer. Middle-aged men are most susceptible to cancer of the throat or larynx. As the disease progresses, you may experience difficulty swallowing or develop a chronic cough. A lump may also develop in the throat. Throat cancer generally begins in the vocal chords, and can spread to nearby tissues if not treated promptly. Identifying the disease in its earliest stages is very important. If diagnosed in time, most cancers can now be successfully treated. If your hoarseness continues for more than a couple of weeks, see an ear, nose and throat specialist for an examination to determine the underlying cause. Early radiation treatment or laser surgery can stop the spread of this serious disease.