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All you need to know about Throat Cancer

Cancer is indeed a lifestyle disease and Cancer as we all know is a set of diseases in which abnormal cells grows, multiplies and divide uncontrollably in the body. These abnormal cells form malignant growths which are called tumors. Throat cancer refers to the cancer of the voice box, the vocal cords, and other parts of the throat, such as the tonsils and the oropharynx.

Throat cancer is cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx i.e the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and larynx which is also called voice box. Larynx and pharynx cancers are the third most common cancers diagnosed in Indian males after lung and oral cavity cancer. More than 60,000 cases of throat cancer are diagnosed every year.

You can certainly decrease the risk of throat cancer by not chewing tobacco, by quit smoking or limits the consumption of alcohol.

Symptoms of developing throat cancer are:       

  • A cough
  • Pain or difficulty in swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness
  • A sore throat
  • Sudden weight loss
  • A lump in the neck are the common symptoms of throat cancer.

Do check with the cancer specialist doctor if you notice any of the above symptoms

Risk factors of Throat Cancer are:

Throat Cancer is usually caused by excessive use of tobacco or consumption of alcohol. Men are more prone to throat cancer as compared to women. Tobacco is by far the most common cause of throat cancer. Both smoking and ‘smokeless’ tobacco (tobacco chewing) increases the risk of throat cancer. Heavy alcohol use and diet low in fruits or vegetables are the other factors associated with the development of throat cancer.

Throat cancer has also been linked to other types of cancers. In fact, some people diagnosed with throat cancer are diagnosed with esophageal, lung, or bladder cancer at the same time. This is typically because cancers often have the same risk factors, or because cancer that begins in one part of the body can spread throughout the body in time.

Treatment for Throat cancer

There are many treatment options available in India for Throat cancer. The treatment plan totally depends on the number of factors including the site of disease, stage of the disease, the person’s age and general health. The patient and doctor should consider and discuss each treatment option carefully.

Radiation therapy: This therapy uses high-energy rays to destroy malignant cancer cells. It would target any cancerous cells left behind by the tumor. Radiation therapy not only provides good tumor control rates but also helps in preservation of organ form and function i.e. speech and swallowing.

Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a drug that kills and slows the growth of malignant cells. It not only kills cancer cells throughout the body, but also enhances the action of radiation.

Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy is also known as biologic therapy, It is used to boost the body’s natural defenses to fight the cancer. It uses substances either made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function. It helps in stopping or slowing the growth of cancer cells.

By: Dr. Vikas Goswami, Sr. Consultant Medical Oncologist from Max Hospital, Vaishali

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