Throat cancer is cancer of the vocal cords, voice box (larynx), or other areas of the throat.
Vocal cord cancer; Throat cancer; Laryngeal cancer; Cancer of the glottis; Cancer of oropharynx or hypopharynx
People who smoke or use tobacco are at risk of developing throat cancer. Drinking too much alcohol over a long time also increases risk. Smoking and drinking alcohol combined lead to an increased risk of throat cancer.
Most throat cancers develop in adults older than 50. Men are 10 times more likely than women to develop throat cancers.
Symptoms of throat cancer include any of the following:
- Abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds
- Coughing up blood
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks
- Neck or ear pain
- Sore throat that does not get better in 1 to 2 weeks, even with antibiotics
- Swelling or lumps in the neck
- Weight loss not due to dieting
Examsn and Tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. This may show a lump on the outside of the neck.
The doctor may look in your throat or nose using a flexible tube with a small camera at the end.
Other tests that may ordered include:
Biopsyof suspected tumor
- Chest x-ray
CT scan of chest CT scan of head and neck MRI of the head or neck PET scan
The goal of treatment is to completely remove the cancer and prevent it from spreading to other parts of the body.
When the tumor is small, either surgery or
When the tumor is larger or has spread to lymph nodes in the neck, a combination of radiation and
You can ease the stress of illness by joining a
Throat cancers may be cured in when detected early. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the neck, about half of patients can be cured. If the cancer has spread (metastasized) to parts of the body outside the head and neck, the cancer is not curable. Treatment is aimed at prolonging and improving quality of life.
After treatment, therapy is needed to help with speech and swallowing. If the person is not able to swallow, a feeding tube will be needed.
- Difficulty swallowing
- Disfigurement of the neck or face
- Hardening of the skin of the neck
Loss of voiceand speaking ability
- Spread of the cancer to other body areas (
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if:
- You have symptoms of throat cancer, especially hoarseness or a change in voice with no obvious cause that lasts longer than 3 weeks
- You find a lump in your neck that does not go away in 3 weeks
Do not smoke or use other tobacco. Limit or avoid alcohol use.
Related:Dry mouth, Mouth and neck radiation – discharge, Swallowing problems , Alcohol use and safe drinking, Breathing difficulty, Hoarseness , Metastasis, Laryngectomy