Living With Throat Cancer
You may feel your cancer experience doesnt end on the last day of treatment. Take time to adjust to the physical and emotional changes and re-establish a new daily routine at your own pace. Your doctor will continue to monitor your health and confirm the cancer hasnt come back.
If you have surgery to treat your throat cancer, you might have problems after surgery, such as:
- breathing difficulties, which might mean you need a breathing hole in your lower neck
- problems eating, which might mean you need a feeding tube inserted
- trouble swallowing
- scars and wounds that need time to heal
If you have more extensive surgery, you might have to adjust to greater changes. Talk to your doctor about what to expect or for referral to support services and resources.
Tobacco Alcohol And Throat Cancer Risk
Smoking and drinking alcohol are major risk factors for throat cancer. Using tobacco , exposes your mouth to cancer-causing substances .
If you smoke and drink, your risk of developing throat cancer is significantly higher.
Alcohol may enable other carcinogens, , to enter and damage cells.
While smoking and drinking are major risk factors for throat cancer, younger people who are non-smokers and non-drinkers are increasingly being diagnosed with this type of cancer.
Is Throat Cancer Curable
Healthcare providers may be able to cure throat cancer that hasnt spread to nearby tissues or your lymph nodes. Cancer that hasnt spread is called localized cancer. Between 52% and 83% of people with all types of localized laryngeal cancer are alive five years after diagnosis. About 62% of people diagnosed with localized oropharyngeal cancer are alive five years after diagnosis.
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What Does Mouth Cancer Look Like
Oral cancer is another name given to mouth cancers. Usually dentists diagnose the presence of mouth cancer in people instead of doctors. Excessive drinking, smoking cigarettes, having a member of the family suffering from cancer, chewing of tobacco and severe sun exposure are some of the causes of mouth cancer. The HPV or human papillomavirus has also been found to be responsible for causing oral cancer. It must be remembered that oral cancer can be treated and cured if it is diagnosed at an earlier stage. Thus it is imperative to visit a doctor immediately if you find something wrong with your mouth.
Symptoms of Mouth Cancer
Canker sores are usually the cause of pain in the mouth but they do not last more than two weeks. If you find a bump on roof of mouth or a sore spot that persists for more than two weeks then it becomes necessary to visit the doctor. Besides that, the following are among the symptoms that might indicate the presence of oral cancer.
What Does It Look Like?
The following are some characteristic features of how mouth cancers look for people wondering what does mouth cancer look like.
- An ulcer that starts bleeding when touched, having rolled edges and a crater in the centre.
- A deep fissure containing a small ulcer
- Erosion of the mucosa resulting in a raw superficial area
- Soft tissues containing a palpable nodule that has become very hard
- Gingival hyperplasia affecting a single portion of your mouth
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How Do I Take Care Of Myself After Throat Cancer Treatment
If youve been treated for laryngeal cancer, you may need help managing the long-term effects of treatment. For example, both radiation therapy and surgery can affect your ability to swallow, speak or hear. If thats your situation, your healthcare provider can identify programs and services to help you.
Theres a chance laryngeal or oropharyngeal cancer can come back . Youll probably have follow-up appointments every few months the year after your treatment so your healthcare provider can check on your overall health and for signs that cancer has come back or youve developed another type of cancer.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Throat cancer treatment often includes surgery that can affect your quality of life long after youve finished your treatment. You may need help with everyday essential activities like eating and speaking. Your healthcare providers understand all the ways that throat cancer can change your life. Never hesitate to ask for help. Your healthcare providers will be glad to do all they can as you learn how to adapt to a new way of living.
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What Is The Oropharynx
Your oropharynx is the middle part of your throat just beyond your mouth. Your oropharynx includes the back part of your tongue , your tonsils, your soft palate , and the sides and walls of your throat. Your oropharynx makes saliva, keeps your mouth and throat moist and starts to help digest the food you eat.
Side Effects Of Treatment
Radiation therapy to the mouth and throat causes many side effects including
Destruction of the salivary glands, which leaves the person’s mouth dry and can lead to cavities and other dental problems
Poor ability of the jawbones to heal from dental problems or injury
Skin changes, if radiation is done to the neck
Voice changes and trouble swallowing, if radiation is given to the throat or larynx
Because of these side effects, all pre-existing dental problems should be completely treated before radiation is given. Any teeth likely to become problematic are removed, and time is allowed for healing before radiation is given.
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How Is Throat Cancer Treated
Treatment for throat cancer depends on the type of cancer you have, and whether it has spread to other parts of your body, such as your mouth or lymph nodes. Common treatments include radiation to kill the cancer cells, or surgery to remove the affected area. Removal of part or all of the larynx or pharynx can affect a persons ability to speak. A person recovering from throat cancer surgery may need to learn how to speak in new ways, either using breathing techniques or voice aids.
If the throat cancer has spread to other areas of the body, more extensive treatment might be required. Your doctor might also recommend the following additional treatments to give your body the best chance at eliminating the cancer completely:
- Radiation therapy: This uses high-energy rays to kill cancer cells and prevent new cancer cells from growing. It is highly recommended that people who are being treated with radiation for throat cancer quit smoking before receiving treatment in order to maximize the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
- Chemotherapy: This uses anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells in the body. Chemotherapy is often recommended for advanced stage throat cancer, and is usually prescribed in combination with radiation. Sometimes, chemotherapy is given prior to surgery in order to shrink the tumor in the throat.
Mixed Red And White Patches
A mixture of red and white patches in your mouth, called erythroleukoplakia, is an abnormal cell growth thats more likely to become cancerous. If red and white patches last more than 2 weeks, you should see your dentist. You may see these mouth abnormalities before you feel them. In the early stages, mouth cancer may cause no pain.
Bright red patches in your mouth that look and feel velvety are called erythroplakia. They are often precancerous.
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What Are Other Throat Cancer Types
- Hypopharyngeal cancer: This cancer affects the part of your throat thats just above your esophagus and windpipe.
- Nasopharyngeal cancer: This is a rare type of throat cancer. It affects the part of your throat thats just behind your nose.
- Supraglottic cancer: This cancer starts in the upper part of your larynx. It can affect your epiglottis, the cartilage that keeps food from going into your windpipe. About 35% of all laryngeal cancers start in your supraglottis.
- Glottic cancer:This is cancer in your vocal cords. Your vocal cords are in the middle part of your larynx. More than half of all laryngeal cancers start here.
- Subglottic cancer:This cancer starts below your vocal cords in the lower part of your voice box. About 5% of all laryngeal cancers start here.
How To Treat Head And Neck Cancer
As with any other type of malignancy, treatment forhead and neck cancer will vary from one patient to another. When determining what course of treatment to pursue, clinical oncology specialists will consider factors such as:
- The specific type of head and neck cancer present
- The location of the cancer cells
- How far the cancer has already progressed
- The patient’s age
- The patient’s overall health
With that said, head and neck cancer treatment often involves one or more of the following approaches:
- Targeted therapy
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Types Of Throat Cancer
The treatment plan and outlook for cancer will depend on the type. A biopsy will show what type of cancer cell is present.
The most common type of throat cancer is squamous cell carcinoma, which affects the flat cells lining the throat.
Two main categories of throat cancer are:
This cancer develops in the pharynx, the hollow tube that runs from behind your nose to the top of your windpipe. Pharyngeal cancers that develop in the neck and throat include:
- nasopharynx cancer
- oropharynx cancer
- hypopharynx cancer
This cancer forms in the larynx, which is your voice box. Cancer can develop in the:
- subglottis (part of the larynx below the vocal cords
much more likely to develop laryngeal cancer, according to the American Cancer Society .
Oral HPV is a sexually transmitted virus that affects around 10 percent of men and 3.6 percent of women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . The CDC adds that HPV may account for around 70 percent of cases of oropharyngeal cancer in the United States.
Males are more likely to develop oropharyngeal or laryngeal cancers than females. While the overall rate is higher among white people, it is significantly higher for Black males compared with all females and with males from other races, according to
- engage in regular physical activity
- ask your doctor about getting the HPV vaccine to help reduce the risk of contracting an oral HPV infection
After A Diagnosis Of Throat Cancer
After finding out you have throat cancer, you may experience a range of emotions such as disbelief, confusion and sadness and feelings of loss of control. These reactions are normal and you may find it helpful to talk to family and friends about how you feel.
Talk to your doctor about treatments that are available to you, potential side effects and how soon you should start treatment. Take as much time as you can before making a decision.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Head And Neck Cancer
Head and neck cancer symptoms can affect specific areas of the mouth, throat, larynx, nose or sinuses. In most cases, the malignant growths develop in the squamous cells that form the surface layer above the moist tissue of the various head and neck structures, and cause symptoms that are localized to the immediate area.
Because the signs can vary, and because many common symptoms of head or neck cancer can also be caused by other, less serious conditions, it is important to always be vigilant for health changes and to follow up with a physician whenever anything unusual occurs. Keep in mind that the symptoms of a less serious condition like the common cold or the flu usually begin resolving within several days. So, if these symptoms last longer than a week, you should consult with a medical professional to determine whether theyre being caused by something more serious, such as cancer. And if you’re at all concerned, don’t delay reaching out to a clinical oncology specialist, since early diagnosis and treatment could allow for significantly more treatment options.
When To Seek An Appointment With The Doctor
Book an appointment with an ENT doctor when you see the first signs of throat cancer. Most throat cancer first signs are visible and persistent. In fact, most of the throat cancer symptoms arent specific to cancer, nonetheless, ENT expert will investigate the throat cancer warning signs.
First signs of throat cancer pictures
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Mouth And Throat Cancer Targeted Therapy
Targeted therapy, in which a drug is given that is specially designed to target molecules specific to the particular type of cancer, may be administered or combined with other therapies in some cases. Cetuximab and several other new treatments are available for targeted oral cancer therapy. These treatments are often used in conjunction with older forms of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. For example, Cetuximab is an engineered antibody that binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor, a molecule important for cell growth. It was the first targeted therapy approved for oral cancer. Cetuximab binds to oral cancer cells and interferes with cancer cell growth and the spread of cancer. Cetuximab is given once a week in an injection through a vein . It may cause certain unique side effects, including an acne-like rash. Today there are numerous other targeted agents being studied for use against squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, as well as against other forms of cancer which can arise elsewhere in the body.
What Facts Should I Know About Oral Cancer
The oral cavity and the upper part of the throat have roles in many important functions, including breathing, talking, chewing, and swallowing. The mouth and upper throat are sometimes referred to as the oropharynx or oral cavity. The important structures of the mouth and upper throat include lips, inside lining of the cheeks , teeth, gums , tongue, floor of the mouth, back of the throat, including the tonsils , roof of the mouth , the area behind the wisdom teeth, and the salivary glands.
Many different cell types make up these different structures. Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation whereby they grow and multiply without normal controls. Malignant tumors of the oral cavity can encroach on and invade neighboring tissues. They can also spread to remote sites in the body through the bloodstream or to lymph nodes via the lymph vessels. The process of invading and spreading to other organs is called metastasis.
Tumors in the mouth and throat include both benign and malignant types. Benign tumors, although they may grow and penetrate below the surface layer of tissue, do not spread by metastasis to other parts of the body. Benign tumors of the oropharynx are not discussed in this article.
Each year, almost 50,000 people in the U.S. will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. Around 9,700 people will die of these cancers.
Premalignant conditions are cell changes that are not cancer but which may become cancer if not treated.
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How Would I Know If I Had Throat Cancer
Your healthcare provider is your best source of information about throat cancer. Thats because many throat cancer symptoms are similar to other less serious conditions. That said, hoarseness that doesnt go away within two weeks may be an early symptom of laryngeal cancer. Other common throat cancer symptoms are sore throat or trouble swallowing food that lasts two weeks or more.
Nasal And Sinus Cancer
Nasal and sinus cancer affects the nasal cavity and the sinuses .
- a persistent blocked nose, which usually only affects 1 side
- a decreased sense of smell
- mucus running from the nose or down the throat
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Why Throat Cancer Treatment At Adventis Advanced Ear Nose And Throat
Adventis Advanced Ear, Nose and Throat ENT clinic offers comprehensive and therapeutic treatment for throat cancer in India. The throat cancer treatment combines a multi-disciplinary approach to involve advanced surgical technology and radiation oncology. Moreover, we specialise in the treatment of types of throat cancer.
We at Adventis ENT Clinics value compassionate and individual care. You can reach our ENT Clinic to receive the world-class care you deserve. If you experience any of the above signs of throat cancer, please schedule an appointment with us today.
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Throat Cancer
Healthcare providers may use several different therapies to treat the most common forms of throat cancer. If you smoke or use tobacco, they may recommend you stop before treatments, including surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, to help your treatment be more effective and limit side effects. Heres information on treatment options for laryngeal and oropharyngeal cancer:
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What Is The Main Cause Of Throat Cancer
Throat cancer happens when something triggers changes in the genetic makeup of cells in your throat. This change turns healthy throat cells into cancerous cells that grow and multiply. Researchers are investigating what triggers this change. But theyve linked throat cancer to some activities and medical conditions that increase your risk of developing some form of throat cancer:
- You smoke or use tobacco products now or you used to smoke tobacco or use tobacco products. Using tobacco is the single largest risk factor for developing head and neck cancer, including throat cancer.
- You drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol. Researchers link laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer to frequent and heavy consumption of alcohol.
- You have a specific type of sexually transmitted disease called human papillomavirus .