Cancerous tumors that develop in throat (pharynx), tonsils and voice box (larynx) are known as throat cancer. The throat is made up of a muscular tube that starts behind the nose and ends at the neck. The voice box is found sitting just below the throat and is made up of cartilage consisting of vocal cords, which vibrate to produce sound. Tonsil cancer affects the tonsils located at back of throat.
People who use tobacco in form of smoking or chewing are susceptible to throat cancer. Similarly, people who indulge in excessive consumption of alcohol may also suffer this condition. Moreover, people with a virus known as human papillomavirus- HPV are also likely to develop throat cancer. If you feed in a diet that lacks fruits and vegetable, you could also suffer from this condition.
What are the symptoms of throat cancer?
A person with throat cancer will cough and the coughing may not appear to subside. In addition, a patient will show changes in voice especially hoarseness. There is problem in swallowing. The ears can have pain. A patient may also develop a lump or sore that does not heal.
In addition to sore throat, people with throat cancer may also experience weight loss. In order to reduce the risk of throat cancer, you must stop smoking if you do. If you chew tobacco, you should stop. In addition, you should limit the use of alcohol.
Causes of throat cancer
When cells in throat mutate, this situation can cause cancer growth. The mutation causes cells to start growing abnormally. The cells continue living when in normal cases; they would die after their function. The cells accumulate and form a tumor in throat. It is not known exactly what causes the cells to mutate though doctors have identified risk factors associated with the growth such as people who smoke and chew tobacco.
There are different types of throat cancer and they include pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer and glottic cancer. Most of the throat cancers involve the same type of cells. However, different names are used to differentiate the part where the cancer has originated.
Nasopharyngeal cancer usually begins in nasopharynx or part of the throat located behind the nose. Similarly, oropharyngeal cancer starts in oropharynx, which is situated right behind your mouth. Glottic cancer begins in the vocal cords that vibrate to produce sound when you talk.
Treatment of throat cancer
Treatment of this type of cancer depends on the part affected and the stage of development. It also depends on the type of cells involved in the mutation and the overall health of a patient. A patient may discuss the kind of treatment he or she prefers with the doctor. There is need to discuss the benefits and risks of each option available for treatment of this cancer.
Radiation therapy is one form of treatment applied and it uses high-energy beam of light, which delivers the radiation to cancer cells damaging them. The radiation can be directed from outside the body, a process known as external beam radiation. Alternatively, the radiation may be directed through small radioactive seeds and wires, which are placed inside the body next to the cancerous tissue, and this process is known as brachytherapy.
For early stages of cancer development, radiation is more appropriate but in advanced cases of throat cancer, the radiation therapy is combined with other treatments like chemotherapy. Surgery may also be considered as an option for treatment of throat cancer.
Endoscopy surgical procedure may be applied when throat cancer is confined to the surface of throat and vocal cord. For smaller tumors, the doctor may remove part of voice box affected by the cancerous growth. Where the growth has spread to lymph nodes, a surgery may be performed to remove the lymph nose through neck dissection.
Chemotherapy entails use of chemicals or drugs to kill cancerous cells. It may be applied in conjunction with radiation therapy. It is essential that you discuss the side effects with your doctor. Targeted drug treatment or therapy is applied by taking advantage of specific defects of the cancerous cells.
Rehabilitation may be needed after treatment in order to help a patient regain the ability to eat, swallow and talk. If you have eating difficulties, speech problems, and stiffness and pain in neck, you may need help to cope with the challenges. If you have had a surgical procedure such as tracheotomy, you also need care of the surgical opening.
Although there is no known way of preventing the occurrence of throat cancer, there are certain aspects, which can reduce the risks of suffering the conditions. If you smoke, you should stop and if you have not started smoking, you should not even think about it. If you smoke, just quit and you can visit your doctor to help you in quitting smoking.
There are different therapies, which may be applied to help you including counseling and use of non-nicotine smoking products that do not have carcinogens. For women, they need to take only one alcoholic drink per day while for men two drinks are enough. Vitamins and antioxidants in fruits and vegetable diets help reduce the risk of suffering throat cancer. You also need to protect yourself from sexually transmitted human papillomavirus.
Throat Cancer Pictures