Throat Cancer

20 September, 2021

Throat and oral cancer are continuously rising year on year, according to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Around 70,000 people are diagnosed with this kind of cancer every year.

Men have double the chance of getting neck and head cancer than women, according to the National Cancer Institute. 

If diagnosed at an early stage, it is possible to get the right neck cancer treatment. But people may ignore the symptoms as they are common to many normal illnesses such as strep throat, sinus infection or cold.

People who consume alcohol and/or smoke cigarettes regularly are at the highest risk of neck & throat cancer. The symptoms are experienced in the area of throat, mouth, nose, and ears. 

Due to the close location of the neck to the mouth, any trouble in the neck can show symptoms around the neck and the head area also. 

Types of Neck Cancer

The Different types of neck cancer are:

  1. Facial Skin Cancer
  2. Oral Cavity Cancer
  3. Salivary Gland Cancer
  4. Tonsils Gland Cancer
  5. Sinuses Cancer
  6. Throat Cancer (Lower or Upper Throat Cancer)
  7. Larynx Cancer (Windpipe or Voice Box)
  8. Pharyngeal Cancer

Sign & Symptoms of Neck Cancer

During the early stage of laryngeal cancer, pharyngeal cancer, and oral cancer, patients may not notice any signs. When these cancers are well-developed, it comes to the notice of the patients. 

More than half of the patients consult a cancer specialist only after the tumour has grown significantly to an advanced stage of T3 or T4. 

The rate of death in advanced-stage cancer is very high. Almost 50% of cancer patients with advanced-stage tumours are unable to live for more than 5 years.

You should avoid using tobacco and too much consumption of alcohol to prevent neck cancer. You should know all the symptoms or signs of cancer and get in touch with a doctor if you notice any symptoms. You should never ignore the signs and symptoms of neck cancer.

Early Signs & Symptoms of Neck Cancer

  • More than 3 weeks of hoarseness in the mouth
  • More than 2 weeks of sore throat
  • Change of colour inside the mouth tissue into white or red

Advanced Signs & Symptoms of Neck Cancer (H3)

  • Weight loss due to unknown reason
  • Breathing trouble or wheezing
  • Bleeding in nose or mouth
  • Sore throat and throat congestion
  • An issue in hearing or ear pain
  • Headache or pain in the head
  • Voice changes and hoarseness
  • Coughing frequently
  • Difficulty in swallowing food (Dysphagia)
  • Lump in neck, throat, mouth or nose
  • Need to clear throat constantly
  • Coughing up blood

There can be an increase in pain in the ear, swallowing problems, breathing problems and eating problems with an increase of cancer cells in the neck or head area.

Causes of Neck Cancer

One of the main causes of neck or head cancer is chewing or smoking tobacco. Another main cause is the consumption of alcohol in excess. 

The chances of neck or head cancer are multiplied many times when both alcohol and tobacco are consumed together by a person. Here are the common causes of neck cancer:

  • Genetic Syndromes
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Exposure to Asbestos
  • Poor Nutrition
  • Excessive Consumption of Alcohol
  • Smoking

Sometimes, neck cancer can happen due to an infection caused by a virus called Human Papillomavirus Infection (HPV). The transmission of the virus happens sexually. According to the Cancer Treatment Centre of America, certain oropharyngeal cancers are caused by HPV infection.

Diagnosis and Treatment

The process of diagnosis starts with doctor consultation. The physician may conduct a physical test and prescribe urine and blood tests from the laboratory. An endoscopy may be used to further examine based on test results. 

The cancer specialist may take a view of the throat or nose by using a light and flexible tube called an endoscopy. If required, different types of imaging scans such as MRI scan, CT scan, ultrasound scan, and X-ray may need to be performed.

Neck cancer is treated based on the type of cancer, its severity and specificity. Surgery is the most recommended treatment to remove the tumour. 

Sometimes, other therapies such as radiation therapy, chemotherapy, drug therapy, or a combination of these are used for neck cancer treatment.

The doctor may take a tissue sample through a biopsy for further evaluation in the laboratory. This is done to examine the cancer tissues to gain more understanding of the tumour.

It is very important to know the signs and symptoms of neck cancer in advance so that if you notice anything, you can take action on time. It will help in preventing progression to an advanced stage and doctors can treat the tumour when it is small.

Related Articles


Throat Cancer


Throat Cancer


Mouth CancerThroat Cancer

Opportunity to Help


As a society, RGCIRC is looking forward to get support from generous people

Read More

It is a fact that there are absolutely no substitutes to replace human bloo...

Read More

Volunteers play an important role in today’s hospitals. They help the hos...

Read More

Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Institute and Research Centre is today counted amongst Asia’s premier exclusive cancer centres that offer unique advantage of cutting edge technology, put to use by renowned super specialists. This potent combination of man and machine ensures world-class cancer care to not only patients from India, but also from the neighboring SAARC countries and others.

Sir Chotu Ram Marg, Sector - 5, Rohini Industrial Area, Rohini, New Delhi - 110085, India | +91-11-47022222
OPD Timings: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm (All weekdays except Sunday and Holiday)
Emergency Services: 24x7 All weekdays

Squadron Leader Mahendra Kumar Jain Marg, Block K, Niti Bagh, New Delhi - 110049 | +91-11-45822222
OPD Timings: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm (All Weekdays except Sunday and Holiday)
Emergency Services: 24x7 All Weekdays

Subscribe Today For Our Healthy Tips Newsletter