What Is Throat Cancer?
Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells multiply and divide within a human body without any control. These atypical cells form malignant growth is known as a tumour. Thus, throat cancer refers to those cancerous tumours which grow within the throat of an individual.
Additionally, throat cancer refers to the tumour of vocal chords, voice box and other areas of the throat like oropharynx and tonsils. Furthermore, this cancer also affects the cartilage, i.e. epiglottis. It acts as a lid to the windpipe.
Interestingly, the signs of throat cancer are easily detectable, unlike any other form of cancer. Thus, if diagnosed and treated early, patients recover quickly.
Read on to know more about the signs and symptoms of throat cancer.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Throat Cancer?
At times, the signs and symptoms of throat cancer are difficult to judge as they have similarities with common cold. Sore throats and hoarseness are some early symptoms of this cancer.
However, the initial symptoms of throat cancer are persistent sore throats. In case any individuals suffer from this condition for more than two weeks, they should consult doctors.
Apart from that, the later or advance signs of throat cancer are –
- Voice change or hoarseness
- Persistent cough
- Pain in the ear or jaw
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Lump in the mouth, throat or neck
- Difficulty in breathing properly
- Sores or white patches in the throat or mouth
- Sudden weight loss
- Swelling in the throat, jaw, neck, and eyes
- Bleeding in the nose and mouth
Types of Throat Cancer
Furthermore, throat cancer has various subtypes, which are as follows –
Squamous cell carcinoma: It develops inside the thin and flat cell that covers much of the throat. These cells look similar to fish scales under a microscope.
Adenocarcinoma: It occurs in the glandular cells of the throat.
Sarcoma: This type of cancer is not very common. Moreover, it grows inside muscle fibres of the neck.
Laryngeal cancer: This type of throat cancer typically breeds in the larynx. However, treatment for this cancer depends on its place of occurrence.
Pharyngeal Cancer: This cancer has three subtypes which are –
- Oropharynx cancer grows in the middle part of the throat, behind the mouth.
- Hypopharynx cancer develops in the lowest part of the throat. It is just above the larynx, or voice box.
- Nasopharynx cancer grows in the upper part of the throat, behind the nose.
Similar to laryngeal cancer, treatments of this cancer also depend on the place where it develops.
Diagnosis of Throat Cancer
There are several tests available nowadays to diagnose throat cancer symptoms. After a successful diagnosis process, several treatment processes are available for patients to get well. Thus, some of the standard diagnostic procedures are –
Biopsy: Here, a sample tissue is collected from a patient’s throat to examine the presence of cancerous cells. Incisional biopsy or fine-needle biopsy is the standard process used for this purpose.
Imaging tests: Imaging tests such as MRI, CT scan, barium swallow, or positron emission tomography are used to examine cancer.
Scoping procedure: Laryngoscopy, pharyngoscopy, or panendoscopy are used to determine cancer. Moreover, this process involves introducing a scope into the nose or mouth for examination.
Treatment of Throat Cancer
There are various treatments available to combat the signs of throat cancer. However, it varies based on the type of cancer, its location and its stage. Treatment options available are –
- Target therapy
- Radiation therapy
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
- What is throat cancer?
Throat cancer refers to the cancerous tumours that grow within the throat of an individual. Notably, throat cancer develops in the vocal cords, voice box and other areas of the throat like oropharynx and tonsils.
- What are the throat tumour symptoms?
The initial symptom of throat tumour is persistence sore throat. Moreover, some prominent advanced symptoms include pain in the ear or jaw, difficulty in swallowing, and a lump in the mouth, throat or neck.
- What are treatments available for throat cancer?
There are different treatments available for throat cancer. However, it depends on the location of the tumour, its stage, and its type. The available treatments are chemotherapy, radiation therapy, target therapy and surgery.