Throat cancer is a kind of cancer that begins in the throat. The throat (pharynx) represents a tube that runs from the back of the nose to the food pipe (esophagus) and the windpipe (trachea). A throat cancer or laryngeal cancer can be classified depending on the affected area. There are specific terms to differentiate the part of the throat where cancer originated-
Symptoms of throat cancer
Throat cancer, or cancer of the larynx and pharynx, can present a variety of symptoms. These can include pain in the throat or near the breastbone accompanied by a sore throat and hoarseness that lasts for more than two weeks, difficulty and pain when swallowing, ear pain, a lump in the neck, a cough that does not go away, and coughing up blood-tinted phlegm. Some people may also experience shortness of breath, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. It is crucial to be aware of these symptoms and seek medical attention if they persist.
Causes and risk factors of throat cancer
Throat cancer is caused by the abnormal growth of cells in the throat, and several potential factors trigger the onset of throat cancer.
Diagnosis of throat cancer
A specialist like an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist or a head and neck surgeon can carry out diagnostic tests for detection. Diagnosis of throat cancer begins with a thorough medical history and physical exam, including a visual and physical examination of the throat. Other tests, such as a biopsy, imaging (CT scan, MRI, PET scan), sputum cytology, and blood tests, may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for throat cancer
Cancer treatment relies on the size of cancer, its spread, and the patient's overall health. It may include surgery, radiation therapy (radiotherapy), chemotherapy, or a combination of one or more.
Surgery - Depending on the size of the tumor, surgery may be recommended to have it removed. The type of surgery depends on the cancer location and may involve removing a section of the pharynx or the partial or complete removal of the larynx, thyroid, or tongue.
Radiation therapy (radiotherapy) - Radiation therapy may be used after surgery in some cases, while it may be the principal treatment type in others.
Chemotherapy - In some instances, chemotherapy may be needed along with radiation, mainly if the tumors are large or cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Chemotherapy may also be utilized to shrink tumors before surgery.
Recovery following treatment for throat cancer-
Surgery to treat throat cancer might be associated with some problems, such as:
Some people with throat cancer may require therapy after treatment to relearn how to speak. A speech therapist and a physical therapist can assist with this.
Occupational therapists can assist with swallowing difficulty. In some cases, the patient may need reconstructive surgery as well.
Tips to Prevent Throat Cancer
There's no proven way to prevent the occurrence of throat cancer. But its risk can be reduced by observing the following-
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