What is Throat Cancer?
Throat cancer (cancer of the larynx, or laryngeal carcinoma) is a malignant tumor of the throat (voice box), which occurs in many cases and especially in people who smoke. It is a form of cancer that grows in the area around the head and neck, especially in the vocal box. Image Courtesy: Getty.
What it does?
Throat cancer typically affects a person’s voice, vocal town as well as other areas such as the epiglottis, the part that regulates the passage of air in the throat. Men are predominantly affected by throat cancer compared with women. Patients with throat cancer are often between 50 and 70 years old. Image Courtesy: Getty.
Rough quality of the voice or hoarseness is one of the early signs of throat cancer. Throat discomfort, foreign body sensation in the throat, a feeling of lump in the throat, sore throat, coughing, purulent bloody sputum with smelly odor, even coughing up blood, are some other symptoms of throat cancer. Image Courtesy: Getty.
Stages and cure
Throat cancer is highly curable and medically categorized in four stages. Phase 1 and 2: Cancer is still very delicate and can be cured by radiation and surgery. Stage 3: In this stage, radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy is used to cure throat cancer. Surgery may also follow. Stage 4: Cancer at this stage is treatable, but difficult to cure. Image Courtesy: Getty.
Avoiding tobacco in any form is the most important prevention tip for throat cancer. One should also avoid too much alcohol and foods that are too hot or too spicy. Image Courtesy: Getty.
Throat cancer is usually treated with radiation therapy which includes high-energy beams to deliver radiation to the cancer cells to kill such cells. Radiation therapy can be done through a machine outside the body or through small radioactive seeds and wires placed inside body. It is most commonly used in early stages of throat cancer and may not need other supporting treatments during the initial stages. Image Courtesy: Getty
Surgery is often the last resort for treating throat cancer however the type of surgery may usually depends on the severity and the location of the tumour. When throat cancer is confined to the surface of the throat or the vocal cords it can be treated surgically through endoscopy. In some cases the surgery may be done to remove all or part of the voice box, while in other cases the doctors perform surgery to remove all or part of the throat. In cases where throat cancer has spread deep within your neck, doctors perform surgery to remove some or all of the lymph nodes. Image Courtesy: Getty
Throat cancer can be treated with chemotherapy however it is usually used along with radiation therapy. Chemotherapy uses chemicals to kill cancer cells. Some chemotherapy chemicals also make cancer cells more sensitive to radiation therapy. But chemotherapy and radiation therapy when done together increase the side effects of each other. Image Courtesy: Getty