According to health authorities, there are over 100 types of cancer known to man. Some of them are quite common while others are rare. Experts say that throat cancer is comparatively uncommon than other cancers. But if you are a smoker, alcoholic and have poor oral hygiene, then there is a possibility for you to wake up battling throat cancer one day.
Keep on reading to know some of the most important matters about throat cancer. Kindly share this article on your various social media accounts afterwards so that everyone you care about may also get introduced to this rare though nonetheless deadly cancer type.
It Comes in Two Categories
When throat cancer is mentioned, it actually refers to the various parts of the throat. They include the larynx (voice box), vocal cords and tonsils. However, doctors say that cancer of the throat can be categorized into two: pharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer.
Pharyngeal cancer is cancer of the pharynx, the tube that runs from the back of the nose to where the windpipe starts. Pharyngeal cancer can be further subdivided into: nasopharynx cancer (cancer of the upper section of the throat), oropharynx (caner of the middle section of the throat), and hypopharynx (cancer of the bottom section of the throat).
On the other hand, laryngeal cancer is cancer of the larynx. In layman’s terms, the larynx is your voice box which is a part of the throat where you can find your vocal cords.
There are Different Risk Factors for It
Just like other types of cancers, throat cancer happens when cells multiply or divide faster than normal, causing the formation of a tumor. Such growth can spread to neighboring tissues and even adjacent organs as well as different parts of the body.
According to doctors, cancer of the throat is more common in men than in women. This type of cancer is also known to affect people who: smoke, consume alcoholic beverages excessively, have poor oral hygiene and opt for unhealthy eating habits. It is said that certain genetic syndromes and exposure to asbestos are risk factors for throat cancer.
By the way, certain types of infections caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV are associated with the development of throat cancer, says Cancer Treatment Centers of America. They add that someone who is diagnosed with cancer of the lungs, esophagus and bladder may also have throat cancer because of the fact that all of them share the same risk factors.
Detecting It ASAP Can be Hard
Just like other forms of cancer, it’s easier to treat throat cancer early on. Unfortunately, it can be easy to overlook cancer of the throat as its various signs and symptoms, especially at its onset, resemble other medical conditions.
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of cancer of the throat include: a change in the voice, dysphagia or having a hard time swallowing, a sore throat, constant need to have the throat cleared, and persistent cough which can make the patient cough up blood at times. Lymph nodes in the neck tend to be swollen, and earache may also be experienced.
Diagnosing throat cancer involves obtaining the signs and symptoms as well as medical history of the patient. Viewing the throat using what’s called a laryngoscope is also performed. Biopsies and other tests can help confirm the presence of throat cancer.
Treatment Options Available
Surgical removal of the tumor in the throat is commonly done provided that it is still small. At times parts of the throat or structures in it are also removed, in particular if the cancerous cells have spread to them.
After the tumor has been removed surgically, it’s not unlikely for a doctor to recommend the patient to undergo radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy.