Throat cancer may be viewed in two categories: head and neck cancer is essentially a cancer located in the pharynx, larynx, tongue, tonsils, lips, and parts of the esophagus or tubes that connect the nose to the mouth. Esophageal cancer is located specifically in the esophagus, the tube leading food from the mouth to the stomach.
Head and neck cancers, described above, usually spread to the lymph nodes in the neck. While the cancer has a good response to treatment if caught early, it becomes more difficult to cure in its later stages. Because head and neck cancer occurs in such a broad area, click here to find out specifics about the various types.
Cancerous tumors located in the esophagus can grow to a size that may render them inoperable. An option here is to begin chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, which may decrease the size of the tumor, making surgery possible.
Some of the risk factors of throat cancer include:
- Human papillomavirus (HPV)
- Heavy drinking (alcohol)
- Gender (throat cancer affects more men than women)
- Enlarged thyroid gland
Symptoms of throat cancer may include:
- A persistent sore throat
- Difficulty or pain while swallowing
- Persistent coughing
- Bleeding from the throat/ blood in coughed up phlegm
- Lumps on the back of the tongue or in the throat
- Weight loss for unknown reasons
- Bad breath
- Ulcers or sores in the mouth that won’t heal
The diagnosis of throat cancer is similar to that of other cancers. An ultra-sound or MRI scan of the affected area is usually done to visualize the tumor. A biopsy usually follows, to determine whether there are cancerous cells in the tissue.
The treatment plan, as with most cancers, involves surgery as well as chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy. Many patients who have gone into remission of types of throat cancer, particularly pharynx, tongue, mouth, may have to undergo speech therapy upon recovery.
Click here to find out more about throat cancer.
Celebrities who have been diagnosed with throat cancer include George Harrison, a former member of The Beatles.
Please find a very useful resource on tongue cancer at http://www.tonguecancersymptoms.org/Tags: cancer chemotherapy surgery throat cancer