Throat Cancer Throat cancer refers to cancer that develops in the throat (Pharynx) and the voice box or larynx. It most often begins in the squamous cells that line the inside of the pharynx. Throat cancer most commonly affects men over 55 years. Treatment includes radiation, surgery and chemotherapy.
Causes & Risk Factor of Throat Cancer
- Age > 55 Years
- Male > Female
- Asians more affected
- Pan and gutka chewing
- Tobacco use (in any form), including exposure to second-hand smoke
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. This is usually the reason throat cancer is seen in young people – HPV 16 +18
- Poor diet
- Bad oral hygiene
- Plummer Vinson syndrome
Signs & Symptoms of Throat Cancer
- Sore throat, including pain or discomfort.
- Hoarseness, slurring of speech, trouble pronouncing certain words.
- Trouble swallowing accompanied by pain or a burning sensation when chewing.
- Lump in the throat.
- Weight loss, as eating and swallowing are painful.
- Coughing up blood.
- Loss of appetite
Throat Cancer Diagnosis
Detection and diagnosis are usually through a medical examination, using an endoscopy (to get a closer look at the throat) or a laryngoscopy (where a scope is inserted into the voice box). If abnormalities are found, a biopsy is usually ordered. Imaging tests, including computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET), are also used to determine the extent of cancer.
Treatment Modalities of Throat Cancer
Treatment for throat cancer is based on the type of cancer and whether it has spread to other parts of the body, such as the mouth or lymph nodes.
Treatment usually involves
- Surgery: Laser surgery, Robotic Surgery, Endoscopic Surgery, Conventional Open surgery.
- Radiation therapy: High-energy rays are used to kill cancer cells and prevent new ones from growing.
- Chemotherapy: Anticancer drugs are used to kill cancer cells. Doctors usually recommend chemotherapy for advanced-stage (3 and 4) cancer combined with radiation. Chemotherapy may be given before surgery to reduce the side of tumor and also after surgery depending upon stage of the disease. ·
- Targeted therapy: This uses drugs to kill cancer cells without harming normal cells. It is typically recommended for advanced-stage throat cancers.
Primary Prevention of Throat Cancer
Primary prevention includes:
- Avoiding tobacco (both smoking and second-hand smoke)
- Avoiding excess alcohol consumption
- Get the HPV vaccine
- Precautions during oral sex
Secondary prevention would include regular physical examinations as prescribed by the doctor; regular CT Scan/MRI and dental screening.
Expected Prognosis of Throat Cancer
When diagnosed at an early stage prognosis is generally better than some other types of cancer. Overall, the five-year survival rate is 65% after diagnosis. The ten-year survival rate is 55%.
Possible Complications of Throat Cancer
Possible complications of throat cancer include hardening of the skin of the neck or disfigurement of neck or face, loss of voice and speaking ability, metastasis or spread of cancer to other parts of the body, dry mouth, trouble swallowing, eating and drinking, nerve damage during surgery or chemotherapy, dental problems such as tooth loss, lymphedema (which leads to swelling in the face, neck, or chest), and hypothyroidism (if the radiation therapy affects the thyroid gland).
Our BLK-Max Medical Experts
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