Your throat, also called the pharynx, is the tube through which you swallow. It is broken down into three main sections, all of which can develop cancer:
Most cases of throat cancer are found in the oropharynx. Throat cancer is very uncommon in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, only about 2,000 to 4,000 cancers will start in the hypopharynx.
Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. The lining of the throat is made up of squamous cells. Cancer develops when some squamous cells mutate and become abnormal.
Like many head and neck cancers, the signs to watch for include:
Doctors aren’t sure what causes the mutation that causes throat cancer. But doctors have identified factors that may increase your risk. Factors that can increase your risk of throat cancer include:
Knowing the stage of your throat cancer helps determine your treatment options. Treatments vary also due to the location of the cancer, the type of cells involved, whether the cells show the HPV infections, your overall health and your preferences.
Treatment options include:
Throat cancer treatments often cause complications that may require follow-up care or rehabilitation after treatment to help with eating or swallowing difficulties, care of a surgical opening in your throat, pain and stiffness in your neck and speech problems.