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Throat Cancer : Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

Throat cancer is a form of cancer that is more prevalent among men as compared to women.

It can severely impact the life of the patient. If not treated efficiently, it can be fatal too.

In this blog, we will take a brief look at the causes, symptoms and treatments of throat cancer.

Causes of Throat Cancer

There are numerous factors that can cause throat cancer.

Some of the primary causes include:

Tobacco is one of the most common causes that lead to throat cancer in men. In fact, tobacco accounts for up to 50% of cancer cases in men.

So we can say that 50% of cancer cases are 100% preventable if the person stops chewing tobacco.

No cancer appears overnight.

In some cases, it takes years to grow. Initially, it appears in the form of inflammation or swelling. Later, abnormal growth of the cells starts, which leads to  Cancer.

These abnormal cells somehow bypass the immune system of the body. It is believed that if the tumour size is around 1 cm, it contains more than 1 billion cancer cells.

This large number of cancer cells is enough to go into the bloodstream and spread through the entire body.

HPV, or Human Papillomavirus, is another major cause of throat cancer.

Symptoms of Throat cancer

PET scan machine for caner

Although the symptoms of throat cancer might vary from patient to patient, there are some common symptoms that can help diagnose cancer.

These symptoms include:

  • Voice defect
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Vomits
  • Coughing up blood
  • Weight loss

  • Negative metabolism

You may need to read, Importance Of PET Scan In Cancer Diagnosis

How Throat Cancer is Diagnosed?

Throat cancer can be diagnosed with a simple biopsy.

Sometimes, throat cancer also spreads to the lymph nodes, causing lymph nodes to swell. In such cases, a lymph node biopsy or FMAC can also help diagnose cancer.

If the lymph nodes are not enlarged, we perform a laryngoscopy or endoscopy to take the biopsy for the test.

Once the cancer is diagnosed, we proceed with the staging process. Here we perform various scans to determine the stage of cancer.

CT scan is one of the most common tests that we do for throat cancer. This test gives us an indication of the spread of cancer in the body.

It also gives us information on whether the cancer cells are present in the lymph nodes.

Related Read : What are Cancer Vaccines?

Treatment for Throat Cancer

If the cancer of the Oropharynx, Larynx and Pharynx is not spread to the other parts, they are treatable and curable.

In the early stages, throat cancer can be treated with early chemotherapy or radiation.

Early-stage throat cancer is 100% curable in up to 50% to 60% of patients.

If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and lymph nodes have swollen, the first step is to reduce the swelling of the lymph by giving Chemotherapy. Once done, we give Radiation to cure cancer.

In the past, surgery was the only treatment option for Larynx (voice box) Cancer. During the surgery, surgeons used to remove the voice box.

But this resulted in the permanent disability of the patient’s voice. But today, with modern techniques like organ preservation procedures, we can cure this cancer using just Radiation and Chemotherapy.

This helps the patient preserve their voice and live a normal life.

In case the voice box has to be removed, a patient can retain their voice with the artificial voice boxes. This prosthesis can help the patient communicate with others effectively.

In short, if you have throat cancer, you don’t have to panic. With modern technology and equipment, we can help preserve your natural voice box so you can live a normal life.

Even if there is a need to remove the voice box, we can give you a prosthesis, using which you can communicate easily and live a near-normal life.

Prevention of Throat Cancer

Here are a couple of ways to prevent throat cancer:

  •   Stop chewing tobacco
  •   Reduce or stop the consumption of alcohol
  •   Stop smoking
  •   Prevent certain infections

Taking these steps can help prevent almost 50% of throat cancer. Another way is early diagnosis.

If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above for more than 2 weeks, contact a specialist immediately.

Wrapping Up

Today, treating and curing throat cancer is possible, especially if diagnosed in the early stages.

So make sure you do not ignore any early signs and symptoms.

Feel free to talk to us for any further information on throat cancer. We will be more than happy to help.

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Dr. Tushar Patil

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