What is throat cancer?

Most throat cancers are squamous cell carcinomas that start in the lining tissues of the throat. Cancers can occur in any part of the throat, including the nasopharynx, the area behind the nasal cavity; the oropharynx, the area behind the mouth; and the hypopharynx, where the throat branches into the trachea and esophagus.

Symptoms of throat cancer may include a lump or bump in the throat that does not go away, a sore that will not heal, a persistent sore throat, earache, altered hearing, or difficulty talking or breathing.

When caught early, throat cancer has a high cure rate with appropriate treatment, typically surgery or radiation therapy. Following treatment, speech therapy can help you relearn how to swallow and talk, if needed.

As throat cancers grow, they can interfere with breathing. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for severe difficulty breathing or for uncontrolled bleeding. It is important to catch throat cancer as soon as possible so that the chances of curing it are increased. Seek prompt medical care if you have symptoms of throat cancer such as a nonhealing lump or sore in the throat, sore throat, ear symptoms, or difficulty talking or breathing, especially if any of these symptoms last more than a week or two.

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of throat cancer?

Symptoms of throat cancer can include nonhealing sores or pain in the throat or ear. They can also include symptoms related to the tumor’s interference with normal throat function.... Read more about throat cancersymptoms

CAUSES

What causes throat cancer?

Although the specific cause of throat cancer is not known, several risk factors have been identified, including tobacco use, which is the strongest single risk factor for developing throat cancer, and alcohol use.... Read more about throat cancercauses

TREATMENTS

How is throat cancer treated?

Treatment of throat cancer begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests that can detect cancer in its most treatable stages. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to promptly evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing throat cancer.... Read more about throat cancertreatments

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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This Article is Filed Under: Cancer