There are a number of different causes of throat cancer and throat malignancy. Throat cancer is generally referred to as adenocarcinoma in the dental world.
This type of cancer is generally found in smokers and people with weak immune systems. Around 60% of throat and oral cancers in Australia are directly related to smoking; around 30% are directly related to excessive alcohol intake.
Therefore, quitting smoking and moderating alcohol intake will greatly reduce your overall risk of developing throat cancer from either smoking or from excessive consumption of alcohol.
In both of these cases, drinking alcohol while not actually causing throat cancer is a major contributor to your chances. Excessive drinking of any form can weaken the body’s ability to fight disease.
What is Throat Cancer?
You may have heard of this condition, but you are not exactly sure what the condition is all about. Essentially, Throat Cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the area of the vocal cords, the pharynx.
As with all types of cancer, what is Throat Cancer? is a question asked by many people, but few really understand the condition. If you are diagnosed with this type of cancer, then you need to find out all you can about what Throat Cancer is, how it affects the body, and what you can do to treat the condition.
This condition is very common, especially in younger women. In fact, according to the CVIPS, approximately half of all female patients will develop this form of cancer during their lifetime.
It is one of the most widespread forms of cancer in the world today, and in the United States alone, approximately half of all women will develop the condition.
The symptoms associated with the disease tend to manifest quickly, often within days of the onset of symptoms
When you visit your doctor, you will likely be first advised to go to an oncology specialist or ophthalmologist. If you have had a history of other health issues, such as
- Respiratory infections
- Even menopause,
Your doctor may recommend that you undergo chemotherapy or have surgery. Sometimes, people who have had radiation therapy for cancer in the neck will have to undergo chemo for their treatment options.
These are all typical treatment options that your doctor will discuss with you, and which would best suit your condition and lifestyle. If you do not have any of these typical cancer symptoms, you may also experience occasional pain from the
- Pharynx or tonsils
- Pharyngeal swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
- Hoarseness or loss of voice
- Persistent coughing
If you find that these symptoms are present, your doctor will most likely want you to undergo a biopsy, to see if you do have any cancerous cells or masses.
However, even in cases when the doctor cannot immediately identify what is wrong, your doctor will usually try to ease your discomfort with non-surgical methods first, such as expressing your pharynx through coughing, gargling with warm salt water, or using medication.
If any of these methods prove ineffective, your doctor may recommend that you undergo what is known as radiosurgery, where cancerous cells are burned with an electrical current.
There are a couple of different treatments that your doctor will offer you for what is Throat Cancer. If the sore throat seems to only be affecting the lip, you will probably get a local anesthetic to soothe it, and then a local anesthetic to make sure that any problems with your vocal chords do not develop.
This treatment is called eltrombopag, and although it generally does the trick, it is not ideal for everyone, as it requires an incision into the vocal cords and a recovery time of about a week or so.
If the cancer is located further up the neck, or if you have any of the other symptoms described above, your doctor will most likely recommend that you undergo a more invasive treatment plan called Iridectomy.
This is a less extensive surgery and only requires one incision (under the chin) rather than two. With Iridectomy, your doctor will remove your vocal cords, along with the tissues and tumors that are responsible for your symptom. After the surgery, you will probably be given a steroid injection to numb the pain, and you will be sent home to recover.
You may experience some complications from throat cancer when it is detected early
Symptoms of throat cancer are generally non-specific and may include common flu-like cold like cough, runny or blocked nose, fever, chills, and even wheezing.
Some people may experience more serious symptoms, so if you experience these symptoms it is important that you contact your doctor immediately. If you do go to the doctor, they will typically perform a series of tests and examinations.
Your doctor will most likely want to know about any family history of cancer, any other illnesses you have, your age and weight, your sex, and if you smoke.
Throat cancer can also be caused by genetics, exposure to asbestos, and exposure to tobacco smoke. If you have parents or grandparents who have experienced cancer of the throat or any other types of cancer of the upper respiratory system, you are at increased risk of contracting it yourself.
If you do contract it, you are also at increased risk if you don’t have family members with cancer of the upper respiratory system. If you do contract throat cancer, your chances of survival are good; however, your chances of recurrence are not good.
If you have had previous issues with alcohol use or have children who currently use alcohol or have children who are alcohol users, you may increase your risk of getting throat cancer as well.
In addition to genetics, smoking, use of tobacco products, and use of asbestos are all risk factors for this disease. Cancer caused by asbestos is called Pleural Mesothelioma which affects the lining of the human lungs.
Certain symptoms you will be experiencing include shortness of breath, Chest pain, and chronic cough If you smoke, secondhand smoke from cigarette smoke is associated with over 25 percent of all cases.
Other risk factors of throat cancer include
- Family history
There are two main categories of throat cancer; the upper airway and the pharynx. When the throat becomes cancerous, it spreads to the pharynx. This means that any part of the throat or the area around the lips, eyes, and gums may become affected.
Symptoms of throat cancer include
- A hoarse voice
- Persistent coughing
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain or discomfort in the throat
- Sometimes a hoarse cough
Sometimes a tumor can grow where the vocal cords are located. A doctor may diagnose a form of cancer based on symptoms alone. The doctor will either order an exam or biopsy.
If the biopsy indicates that there is, in fact, a tumor, then the doctor may choose to remove a portion of the tonsil tissue to look for further growth or mass.
If you have experienced symptoms that seem like those of tonsillitis, you should contact your doctor. Tonsils, as well as lymph nodes in the neck and upper back, contain a high level of cellular debris. If these nodes show signs of cancer or inflammation, it is important to have them checked out.
Treatment options for throat cancer include
- Radiation therapy
- Lymph node removal
- Symptom-free “watchful waiting.”
Surgery is most often used to remove tumors and masses, but can also be used to treat the symptoms of cancer. Radiation therapy is often used to treat lymph nodes in the neck or upper back because these nodes are difficult to remove using traditional methods.
Watchful waiting is a method where the patient watches for any symptoms of cancer and treats them as they arise. This has a better chance of stopping cancer before it spreads to other parts of the body.
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