THROAT CANCER

Description

  • Cancerous tumors that develop in the throat, voice box or tonsils
  • Often grouped into two categories: pharyngeal and laryngeal cancer
  • Can also affect the piece of cartilage (epiglottis)

Symptoms

  • Abnormal (high-pitched) breathing sounds
  • Cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness that does not get better in 3 to 4 weeks
  • Neck or ear pain
  • Sore throat that does not get better in 2 to 3 weeks, even with antibiotics
  • Swelling or lumps in the neck
  • Weight loss without trying

Causes

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Exposure to asbestos
  • Poor dental hygiene

Risk Factors

  • Tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • A virus called human papillomavirus (HPV)
  • A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Diagnostic Tests

  • Using a scope to get a closer look at the throat
  • Removing a tissue sample for testing (biopsy)
  • Chest X-ray
  • Computerized tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Scan
  • Positron Emission Tomography (PET) Scan
  • Staging the cancer

Treatment

  • Radiation Therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Targeted Drug Therapy

Surgery:

  • Surgery for early-stage throat cancer
  • Surgery to remove all or part of the voice box (laryngectomy)
  • Surgery to remove part of the throat (pharyngectomy)
  • Surgery to remove cancerous lymph nodes (neck dissection)

Medications

  • Cetuximab (Erbitux) is one targeted therapy approved

Prevention

  • Stop smoking or don’t start smoking
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Protect yourself from HPV

Lifestyle Management

  • Quit smoking
  • Quit drinking alcohol