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Throat Cancer-Overview


Throat cancer is a term that refers to cancerous tumors that develop in one’s pharynx, larynx, or tonsils. The pharynx is a muscular tube that begins behind the nose and ends in the neck. The larynx sits just below the throat and is also susceptible to throat cancer. It is made of cartilage and contains the vocal cords that vibrate to make sound when a person’s talking. Throat cancer can also affect the epiglottis. 


Throat cancer occurs when cells in the throat develop genetic mutations. These mutations cause cells to grow uncontrollably. The accumulating cells can form a tumor in the throat.
The actual cause why this happens is yet unknown.

Risk Factors


There are certain factors that might contribute to a person developing this type of cancer. These include: excessive drinking, smoking or chewing tobacco, a diet that is low in vegetables and fruits, being infected with human papillomavirus, being exposed to asbestos, chewing betel quid (a stimulant commonly used in some parts of Asia), and drinking mate (a drink from South America); poor dental hygiene has also been linked to cases of throat cancer.

Prognosis


Throat cancer prognosis means one makes a forecast on what will be the outcome of the disease in a certain amount of time. However, it usually depends on a lot of factors like cancer stages, treatment prescribed by a doctor, etc.

The stages of cancer may be:


  • Stage I. In this stage of pharyngeal cancer, the tumor is small, usually less than an inch. It also hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes. If it is noticed in time, and the treatment starts immediately, the prognosis looks promising.
  • Stage II. This means that the cancer has grown to a size of about three inches. In this stage, it has not yet spread, so the prognosis is also good. The main attention is still paid to the pharynx and the larynx when it comes to the treatment plan.
  • Stage III. This stage means that the cancer has spread, and that it can cause severe damage to other parts of the body. The prognosis on this stage varies from doctor to doctor. Some think that this is still and early stage, while others think that it is life-threatening.
  • Stage IV. The cancer has spread to the mouth and has damaged the lymph nodes and the neck. In this stage, the only treatment is to surgically remove the infected part of the neck, as well as remove the entire larynx. Radiation follows, so that any remaining cancer cells are eradicated.

Throat cancer survival rate depends usually upon the patient’s overall health, age and stage of cancer. In certain cases, survival rates will depend upon the ability of surgeons and the success rate of radiation. However, it has been proven that early detection can lead to complete recovery in ninety per cent of the cases.

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