What is throat cancer?
Throat cancer involves the development of malignancies of the throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) and tonsils.
Approximately, 17,590 people in the United States will develop cancer of the pharynx, and 12,370 will develop cancer of the larynx in the year 2020, according to the American Cancer Society.
The three main types of throat cancer are:
- Oropharyngeal cancer: Develops in the oropharynx area of the pharynx
- Laryngeal cancer: Forms in the larynx
- Hypopharyngeal cancer: Forms in the hypopharynx area of the pharynx
The throat is a small part of the body, which is a passageway for both the digestive and respiratory systems. The throat helps with:
The pharynx is behind the mouth and above the esophagus. The pharynx includes:
- The oropharynx: This includes the base of the tongue, the roof of the mouth (palate) and the tonsils.
- The nasopharynx: The superior part of the throat behind the nose, above the palate.
- The hypopharynx: Also known as the laryngopharynx, forms the base of the throat.
The larynx is made up of three parts:
- The glottis: Contains the vocal cord.
- The supraglottis: Is present above the vocal cords.
- The subglottis: Is present between the vocal cords and the trachea.
What does throat cancer feel like?
The advanced stage symptoms of throat cancer are:
Throat cancer that has spread to distant parts of the body (metastatic cancer), leads to specific symptoms depending on the location:
- If cancer has spread to the lungs, symptoms include:
- If cancer has spread to the bones, symptoms include:
How does a physician diagnose throat cancer?
Tests that are commonly performed by the physician to diagnose throat cancer are:
- A biopsy involves the removal of tissue to look for any cancerous cells.
- Imaging tests such as computed tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), barium swallow or positron emission tomography (PET) can help in diagnosing throat cancer.
- Scoping procedures such as laryngoscopy, panendoscopy or laryngoscopy involve inserting an instrument (scope) into the mouth or nose to examine the throat.
How do you treat throat cancer?
Treatment of throat cancer involves:
- The specific type of cancer
- Location of cancer
- Stage of cancer
Treatment options for throat cancer are:
How do you manage the side effects of throat cancer treatment?
The side effects of throat cancer treatment may impact the quality of life. Supportive care helps manage symptoms and side effects:
Medically Reviewed on 6/25/2020
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