Throat cancer is a disease in which cancer cells grow in an abnormal way in the throat. The throat is the hollow tube that runs from behind the nose and mouth, down the neck, to the opening of the esophagus and windpipe.
Cancer occurs when cells in the body (in this case throat cells) divide without control or order. Normally, cells divide in a regulated manner. If cells keep dividing uncontrollably when new cells are not needed, a mass of tissue forms, called a growth or tumor. The term cancer refers to
malignant tumors, which can invade nearby tissues and spread to other parts of the body. A
usually does not invade or spread.
Change in voice quality; referred to as “hot potato” voice
Pain in the head, throat, or neck
Lump in the neck
Unexplained weight loss
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. The doctor may feel for any lumps in the neck. You may be referred to an otolaryngologist, a doctor who specializes in head and neck surgery.
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of the inside of the throat
—a special scan using radioactive glucose that circulates throughout the body; x-ray is then taken and the radiation shows up, showing cancer cells
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of the inside of the throat
—surgical removal of a sample of throat tissue to test for cancer cells
Once throat cancer is found, staging tests are done to find out if the cancer has spread. Treatment depends on the stage of the cancer.
This is surgery to remove the cancerous tumor and nearby tissue, and possibly nearby lymph nodes. In very rare cases, surgery to remove large tumors of the throat may also require removal of tissue for swallowing. As a result, food may enter the windpipe and reach the lungs, which might cause
. In cases when this is a risk, your surgeon may remove the larynx or voice box. She will attach the windpipe to the skin through a hole in the neck, which is used for breathing.
This is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be given in many forms including pill, injection, and via a catheter. The drugs enter the bloodstream and travel through the body killing mostly cancer cells, but also some healthy cells.
Combined Modality Therapy
Often times, chemotherapy and radiation therapy are used together to kill cancer of the
and pharynx (throat). This combined approach may be better than surgery or radiation alone.
To reduce your chance of getting throat cancer, take the following steps:
Don't smoke or use tobacco products. If you do smoke or use tobacco products,
get help to quit
Drink alcohol only in moderation. Moderate alcohol intake is two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a