Throat is the part of the body, where air is controlled before entering trachea. It consists of pharynx, vocal cords and larynx. Throat cancer refers to cancer which happens in any part of throat. The most common type of this cancer is epidermoid carcinoma. Smoking is the main cause of throat cancer. 94 % of the patients are smokers or formerly smoking people. Stomach problems and oral hygiene problems are also effective.
Causes of Throat Cancer
The Symptoms of Throat Cancer
The symptoms differ according to the location of throat cancer. Three main symptoms are:
. Shortness of breath
. Difficulty swallowing
They could be seen together or separate from each other. Moreover two other symptoms could also be seen:
. Swelling around the neck
In addition to these symptoms, the possibility of larynx cancer diagnosis increases together with the results of examination. The definite diagnosis comes after removing a tissue sample and examining this tissue by pathologists.
Treatment for Throat Cancer
Throat cancer has to be treated with cooperation of otorhinolaryngologists and oncologists. The treatment process is planned according to the size of tumor and the stage of the cancer. There are different methods of treatment such as surgery, radiotherapy and combined treatment.
The aim of the treatment is to increase the life quality of the patient. Treatment is aimed at comfortable speaking, eating and breathing of the patient without suffering. If the cancer is in early stage, the aim will be preventing it from becoming advanced stage and to cure it but if it’s in advanced stage, the aim will be to control it.
Surgery for Throat Cancer
Surgery is applied with different methods according to the location of the cancer. For small laryngeal cancers, it may be possible to remove only the portion of the voice box or the portion of the larynx above the vocal cords or only one vocal cord, leaving the rest of the larynx intact. For more extensive laryngeal cancers in which tumor is spreaded to both vocal cords and larynx, removing all of the throat would be recommended. Removing a portion is called ‘partial laryngectomy’, removing all of the throat is called ‘total laryngectomy’.
Can Laryngeal Cancer Patients Talk?
Throat has different functions such as breathing, closing the enter of trachea during swallowing and providing to talk. If partial laryngectomy or radiotherapy are applied, only hoarseness may happen. However, after a total laryngectomy; electrolarynx, voice prosthesis could be used to provide talking or the patient should learn speaking again with different techniques in some cases.