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What Is Throat Cancer and Throat Cancer Symptoms ?

Throat Cancer and Throat Cancer Symptoms

Cancer refers to the vigorous growth of abnormal cells in the body. These cells form a certain kind of dangerous or uncontrollable development called a tumour. Cancer that grows in the parts of the body that helps individuals to speak, swallow, and breathe is called throat cancer. In short, this disease occurs in the throat region whose starting point is behind your nose and ending point is in the neck.

Cancer in the throat can be cured if it is detected and observed at an early phase. It can be cured if cancer has not spread over other nearby regions. This type of health condition is not curable when it has spread to other surrounding regions, tissues, lymph nodes, or the exterior parts of the head and neck. Doctors mostly phrase this term as cancers of the head and neck. There are also many throat cancer symptoms that we will discuss a bit later.

Different types of cancer occur in the throat. Some of them are discussed below.

  • Nasopharyngeal cancer:

    It is also known as nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). It is a rare type of head and neck cancer. The nasopharynx is located behind the nose and in the upper part of the throat. Nasopharyngeal cancer occurs at this point. Though this type of cancer has been given a thought with the association with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), scientists are still not sure of the exact reasons for this type of cancer. EBV is a common type of infection but not everyone who has this virus in their body suffers from nasopharyngeal cancer.

    Scientists also say that genetic material from the virus that harms the cells of the nasopharynx may be one of the reasons for this type of throat cancer.

    There are certain symptoms of this disease. They are- a lump in the neck region, numbness, double vision, ear infection, blurry vision, pain in the facial region, sore throat, difficulty opening the mouth, etc. Several tests like- X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, etc are carried out to detect this disease. Moreover, tests like complete blood count (CBC), and EBV testing are also carried out for the same

  • Oropharyngeal cancer

    The middle portion of the pharynx is the oropharynx. It is just beyond the mouth. The oropharynx includes the end part of the tongue, tonsils, and soft palate. This part produces saliva which helps the mouth and throat to be moisturized. These help immensely in the digestion of the food we eat. Certain habits greatly contribute to an individual suffering from this kind of disease.

    They are- smoking, drinking heavily, radiation therapy (if taken), history of any cancer like neck or head, or if infected by human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16. Weight loss issues, speaking difficulty, changing of voice, pain in the ears, lump in the neck, blood in the cough, difficulty in opening the mouth, etc are some of the few symptoms of this type of cancer.

    This disease consists of several stages, i.e. Stage I to Stage IV. Stage IV is referred to as the worst prognosis. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy or a surgery called transoral robotic-assisted surgery is carried out to treat this disease.

  • Glottic Cancer:

    When a malignant tumour arises from the actual vocal cords and the anterior and posterior portions of the pharynx, it is defined as glottic cancer. This type of cancer basically arises due to bad habits like smoking and drinking alcohol. There is a significant variation in this type of throat cancer.

    They can vary from laser surgery to chemotherapy to total laryngectomy depending upon the situation of the disease in the body. It is a heavy responsibility on the hands of the healthcare providers to properly diagnose the disease and facilitate its patient with appropriate treatment to treat such type of cancer. Sore throat, change of voice, one or more lumps that can be felt in the neck region, blood in the cough, etc are some of the very few symptoms of glottic cancer. Trouble in breathing is the apex.

  • Hypopharyngeal cancer

    A type of cancer that affects the bottom part of the throat is called hypopharyngeal cancer. Head and neck cancer is the other name for this disease. This type of cancer occurs mainly due to heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking.

    This disease occurs in the cells that make up the lining of the throat. A sore throat that stays for a longer period, changing of voice, a feeling of fullness in one or both ears, a pain that cannot be explained, etc are some of the symptoms of this disease. Endoscopy, Biopsy, MRI, CT scan, etc are several tests that might be carried out to diagnose the disease. Moreover, this cancer spreads to other regions of the body also. They are- the thyroid gland, trachea, larynx, other portions of the pharynx, etc. Several treatments are carried out to treat this type of cancer and they are Chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.

Let us absorb several throat cancer symptoms.

Let us discuss a few symptoms of throat cancer.

  • Cough

    When something enters our throats or irritates us, we respond quickly. This is called coughing. When the muscle in the chest and the abdomen pushes air from the lungs to throw out the disturbing particle or element, it is called a cough. When a person suffers from cancer he or she coughs. It is because the cancerous cells obstruct the airways of the lungs.

  • Difficulty swallowing: It refers to the issue when an individual cannot swallow the food he or she has taken. It can be the tumour that is preventing the food to go down into the stomach. The tumours block the food passage; it narrows down the food passage. Several types of cancers like voice box cancers, larynx cancer, thyroid gland, nasal cavity, pharynx cancer, salivary gland, etc, lead to this type of problem.
  • A sore throat: A sore throat is an early warning and a symptom of throat cancer. A person might feel some kind of burning sensation or pain while swallowing food. This symptom makes a person feel as if something sticks in the throat after swallowing. Mostly, laryngeal cancer shows up with this kind of issue.
  • Weight loss

    The American Society of Clinical oncology says that when an individual gets diagnosed with cancer, about 40% of them show up with this symptom. They lose weight in an unexplained manner. Cancers of the oesophagus, stomach, lung, and pancreas are generally the main types of cancers that do this. Weight loss is not only a symptom of cancer but it might also be a side effect due to various therapies or treatments that are being carried out.

There are many other throat cancer symptoms on the list. We have discussed only a few of them here.


If you ever come across throat cancer symptoms, you are most humbly requested to look for a healthcare provider immediately. Because any kind of cancer, especially throat cancer is not a joke.


Also Read : Breast Cancer Treatment During Pregnancy – What To Know

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