Throat Cancer

Throat cancer includes several different cancers under the head and neck umbrella. Laryngeal cancer and pharyngeal cancer are two of the most common types of throat cancer.

Laryngeal Cancer

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Laryngeal cancer, also known as cancer of the larynx or laryngeal carcinoma, is mostly squamous cell carcinomas, reflecting their origin from the skin of the larynx.Laryngeal cancer refers to cancer that forms in the larynx, also known as the voice box.

Pharyngeal Cancer

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Pharyngeal cancer is a type of throat cancer that forms in the pharynx, the hollow tube that runs from the back of the nose to the top of the esophagus. The pharynx has three distinct parts: the Nasopharynx, The Oropharynx , and The Hypopharynx .

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer, also known as cancer of the larynx or laryngeal carcinoma, is mostly squamous cell carcinomas, reflecting their origin from the skin of the larynx.Laryngeal cancer refers to cancer that forms in the larynx, also known as the voice box.

Cancer can develop in any part of the larynx, but the cure rate is affected by the location of the tumour. Laryngeal cancer may spread by direct extension to adjacent structures, by metastasis to regional cervical lymph nodes, or more distantly, through the blood stream.

Laryngeal Anatomy

The larynx is a part of the throat, between the base of the tongue and the trachea. The larynx contains the vocal cords, which vibrate and make sound when air is directed against them. The sound echoes through the pharynx, mouth, and nose to make a person’s voice.

There are three main parts of the larynx

Supraglottis : The upper part of the larynx above the vocal cords, including the epiglottis.

Glottis : The middle part of the larynx where the vocal cords are located.

Subglottis : The lower part of the larynx between the vocal cords and the trachea (windpipe).

Pharyngeal Cancer

Pharyngeal Cancer is broken into three types :

Nasopharynx cancer : It forms in the upper part of the throat.

Nasopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the nasopharynx.

Nasopharynx Anatomy

The nasopharynx is the upper part of the pharynx (throat) behind the nose. The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach). Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the trachea or the esophagus. The nostrils lead into the nasopharynx. An opening on each side of the nasopharynx leads into an ear. Nasopharyngeal cancer most commonly starts in the squamous cells that line the nasopharynx.

Key Factors about Nasopharyngeal Cancer

  • Ethnic background and being exposed to the Epstein-Barr virus can affect the risk of nasopharyngeal cancer.
  • Signs of nasopharyngeal cancer include trouble breathing, speaking, or hearing.
  • Tests that examine the nose and throat are used to detect (find) and diagnose nasopharyngeal cancer.

Oropharynx cancer

It forms in the middle part of the throat.

Oropharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the oropharynx.

Oropharyngeal Anatomy

The oropharynx is the middle part of the pharynx (throat), behind the mouth. The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose and ends where the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (tube from the throat to the stomach) begin. Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the trachea or the esophagus.

The oropharynx includes the following :

  • Soft palate.
  • Tonsils.
  • Side and back walls of the throat.
  • Back one-third of the tongue.

Key factors about Oropharyngeal Cancer

  • Smoking or being infected with human papillomavirus(HPV) can increase the risk of oropharyngeal cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms of oropharyngeal cancer include a lump in the neck and a sore throat.
  • Tests that examine the mouth and throat are used to help detect (find), diagnose, and stage oropharyngeal cancer.

Hypopharynx cancer

It forms in the bottom part of the throat.

Hypopharyngeal cancer is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the hypopharynx.

Hypopharynx Anatomy

The hypopharynx is the bottom part of the pharynx (throat). The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose, goes down the neck, and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach). Air and food pass through the pharynx on the way to the trachea or the esophagus.

Key factors about Hypopharyngeal Cancer

  • Use of tobacco products and heavy drinking can affect the risk of developing hypopharyngeal cancer.
  • Signs and symptoms of hypopharyngeal cancer include a sore throat and ear pain.
  • Tests that examine the throat and neck are used to help detect (find) and diagnose hypopharyngeal cancer.

Throat Cancer Symptoms

Symptoms of throat cancer vary from person to person. Early signs of throat cancer may include:

  • Hoarseness or other change in the voice
  • Difficulty swallowing or the feeling that something is caught in the throat
  • Persistent sore throat
  • Ear pain
  • Lump in the neck
  • Cough
  • Breathing problems
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • A white patch on the tongue or lining of the mouth that does not go away.
  • Coughing up blood.

Throat Cancer Diagnosis

It’s important for throat cancer to be diagnosed as early and accurately as possible. This helps increase your chances for successful treatment and keeping the maximum ability to speak and swallow.The tests used to diagnose throat cancer and find out if it has spread depend on the type of cancer. Tests also may be used to find out if treatment has damaged other tissues or organs. One or more of the following tests may be used.

Biopsy

Different methods are used to obtain tissue for a biopsy, depending on where the tumor is located. One test includes Fine-needle-aspiration biopsy (FNA) which is a kind of biopsy used if you have a lump in your neck that can be felt. A thin needle is inserted into the area, and then cells are withdrawn and examined under a microscope.

Endoscopy

An endoscope (a long, thin tube with a light and lens through which the doctor can view organs and tissue) is inserted through the mouth, nose or an incision. The endoscope has a tool to remove tissue samples./p>

Fiberoptic endoscopic examination of swallowing (FEES)

A small, flexible endoscope is inserted through the nose, allowing the doctor to examine swallowing.

Laryngeal Videostroboscopy

This test lets the doctor look at the larynx and see how well you swallow.

Throat Cancer Treatment

Firstly, More than 70% of oropharyngeal cancer cases are caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, for which a safe and effective vaccine currently exists. So it is advised to be given during adulthood in kids so that any such cause turning into cancer can be avoided.

SURGERY : If the tumor is small, we prefer to perform trans-oral laser microsurgery. The laser is on a small metal scope (tube). The patient is given anesthesia before the surgery begins. The laser is inserted into the mouth and the beam from the laser is used to excise the tumor, and one Centimetre (2.5 inches) of tissue around it.

After the surgery, a small nasogastric feeding tube (NG tube) is inserted through a nostril and into the stomach because the patient cannot eat until the surgical area heals. Healing takes about two weeks. During this time, the patient will receive liquefied food through the NG tube. The patient can go home three to five days after surgery with the NG tube in the nostril.

Larger tumors require a traditional incision with a scalpel. Before the surgery begins the patient is given anesthesia. Surgeon makes an incision in the neck, under the chin, to locate and remove the tumor. The open area is then reconstructed and closed with a flap of skin or muscles from the arm or other part of the body.

If the lymph nodes in the neck are affected, a neck dissection may be needed to remove the nodes.