Throat Cancer is a medical condition with consequences. Like all cancers, the throat cancer is also a result of aberrant rise in cell reproduction leading to tumours that spread to distant sites via blood vessels. The throat cancers originate in, and infect vocal cords, voice box, along with oropharynx and tonsils. The throat cancers are categorized on the basis of origin and impact. A majority of throat cancers fall in the category of Squamous Cell Carcinomas for they originate in Squamous Cells present on the inner throat surface. Adenocarcinoma, the less frequent type of throat cancer, initiates from the glandular cells of the throat. Though throat cancer is relatively infrequent vis-à-vis its counterparts, the cases are on the rise in the recent years.
Detecting potential signs of throat cancer early is important for recovery. However, the caveat is that the symptoms take time to reveal themselves, leading to complications in the throat cancer treatment. So, visit your physician for throat cancer screening if any of the below mentioned signs and symptoms persist for two to three weeks.
There is no plausible explanation for the cause of throat cancer. However, certain factors can expose you to the dreaded medical condition. Being a male is a major risk factor, as men are more prone to the condition as compared to women. Several modifiablebehaviours, such as poor oral hygiene, smoking and alcohol may also lead to throat cancer. The other contributing factors may include exposure to asbestos and radiations, nutritional deficiency, HPV and so forth. As malignant cells originate in a certain part of the body and infect distant organs, the patient with throat cancer may also be suffering from lung or bladder cancers simultaneously.
If you are diagnosed with throat cancer, the oncologist will first stage it and adopt throat cancer treatment modalities accordingly. The medical condition can be grouped in 4 stages based on the size of the tumor and its spread.
Initial Stage: The tumor is developing rapidly but is yet to march into the nearby tissues.
Stage 1: The tumor is limited to 1 subsite of larynx (throat).
Stage 2: The tumor involves more than 1 subsite of larynx (throat).
Stage 3: The tumor extends to draining lymph nodes.
Stage 4(A): The tumor involves thyroid cartilage.
Stage 4(B & C): Lymph nodes and distant organs are affected by the tumor.
The throat cancer treatment involves a multi-modality approach for speedy and complete recovery. Surgery is integral to any treatment approach, especially in early stage cancer. Here, endoscopy is used to insert special surgical tools or a laser to get rid of the cancers. Robotic surgery (TORS) is possible in stage 1 & 2 throat cancer while majority of stage 2 & 3 cancers are treated with radiation therapy. Other surgeries like Laryngectomy, Pharyngectomy and Neck Dissection may be performed in stage 4(A) patients or when there is failure of radiation therapy. Radiation therapy, Targeted drug therapy and Chemotherapy are also implemented.