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What is throat cancer?
Cancer is a disease in which the abnormal cells in our body first divides and then multiplies uncontrollably. It gets very difficult to completely remove these cells once they are increased by a large number. Throat cancer is cancer which affects the parts of the body near the neck and head like, vocal cords, voice box, and parts of the throat like tonsils and oropharynx. There are six types of throat cancers:
- Nasopharyngeal cancer: starts from the area of the nasopharynx, this is a part of our throat which is located just behind the nose.
- Oropharyngeal cancer: Starts at oropharynx, the part of the throat just behind the mouth.
- Hypopharyngeal cancer: Starts at hypopharynx, affects the part below the throat, just above the food pipe and windpipe.
- Glottic cancer: Occurs In the vocal cords.
- Supraglottic cancer: Begins in the part above of the larynx and also causes cancer which affects the epiglottis.
- Subglottic cancer: Starts at the lower portion of the voice box which is just below the vocal cords.
It is usually difficult to detect throat cancer at its early stages. The general signs and symptoms are:
- Changes in your tone
Your voice will be a little changed. As there is unnecessary and unwanted growth in your neck, due to which you hear some unusual changes.
- Difficulty in swallowing
As something harmful will grow in the path your neck while swallowing you will feel the pain. When the food touches those cells you will get a sensation that something is there to which food is getting touched with.
- Weight loss
There will be a major loss in your body weight. As a result, you will feel weak and drowsy. You may feel tired all day long.
- Cough and sore throat
You will persistently cough and blood may also come out through the mouth along with the cough. Also, you may have a sore throat.
- Pain in ear and swollen lump
There may be a sensation of pain in your ear. Also, your lymph nodes in the neck part will start swelling.
Read also: Lung Cancer Awareness: Are You at Risk?
The excessive use of tobacco leads to throat cancer. Like tobacco, smoking and other tobacco particles also lead to cancer. These should not be consumed at all even if consumed then it should be in a limited quantity. Also, they are injurious to the lungs.
Consumption of alcohol is also a major cause of throat cancer, also lung cancer. It is best when consumed in a very limited quantity. As you all already know how it can destroy your health. It can also be caused due to the sexually transmitted virus known as human papillomavirus. We should take precautions before intercourse to prevent these transmissions.
Lack of some nutrients like vitamins is also the reason for the weakening of your immune system and as a result of which later it will be affected by these viruses. So, you should regularly at least eat a few fruits to ensure that you are getting all types of nutrients.
We all know that precaution is better than cure. So it is important to first take all necessary actions which will prevent the virus from acting on you. In the case of throat cancer, there is no specific or proven way to prevent it from happening. Still, some measures are always good to take. We can:
Stop smoking if you are addicted to it. Better late than never. You might have heard this proverb. It is still not late to stop smoking. And if you have never smoked it is better not to start in the first place. It will not do anything except for causing harm to your respiratory system.
Drink alcohol in a very controlled manner. It is always okay to drink but, only when done within the limit. Also, choose a healthy diet plan and also eat fruits which will ensure that you are getting all the nutrients including vitamins. Protect yourself from getting HPV.
Throat cancer tests
The tests which will give results in image form are always referred to in case of throat cancer, like X-ray, computerized tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), PET and many more are there. Endoscopy throat cancer is also a very popular way of diagnosis.
Blood test for throat cancer
There are no normal blood tests that can detect throat cancers. Throat cancer blood test is conducted just like the tradition system. However, there are some tests including blood and urine tests in the laboratory that can detect throat cancer. It helps to determine the diagnosis and more can be learnt through this. One process is called Laryngoscopy. In the initial stage, treatment for throat cancer stage 1 can reduce future complications.
Stage 3 throat cancer treatments
In these stages i.e. stage 3 cancer can be treated from surgery. In the case of throat cancer, the larynx, pharynx and the lymph nodes can be removed from the neck to prevent the growth of the cancer cells. Then this process is followed by radiation or radiation along with chemo. One of these two options is preferred keeping in mind the chances of returning of cancer. For throat cancer treatment, these tests are very important.
Another option is to have chemotherapy at first followed by radiation or chemoradiation. The first chemotherapy treatment is known as induction chemotherapy. The radiation is done depending on how much the tumour has shrunk. If the tumour has to at all shrunk then the tumour can be removed by normal surgery.
Many experts suggest having the treatment in the clinical trial. This treatment in a clinical trial is considered in advanced stages of hypopharyngeal cancer.
Throat cancer treatment stage 4
If you don’t get stage 3 throat cancer treatment at the earliest, you may end up at this most vulnerable stage of throat cancer. The tumour in this can be of any size. But this tumour only passes to nearby cells, tissues such as the neck, trachea, jaw, mouth or any other nearby locations. Throat cancer can be of stage 4 the moment it is diagnosed for the first time. Here also there are surgeries done to remove them. As the cancer is in stage 4, it is almost impossible for the tumour to be small. So it is done by radiation therapy using X rays beams of high energy. Or else, chemotherapy is used to kill the cancer cells by the drugs.