Throat Cancer

Throat cancer, in particular cancer of the Larynx, is the most common malignancy of the head and neck. The incidence is higher in males, and is frequently associated with smoking and ethanol consumption. The true vocal cords, epiglottis and postcricoid areas are common sites of origin.

Early symptoms include hoarseness of the voice, and if hoarseness has persisted in an undiagnosed person for more than 2 weeks then a specific examination known as an indirect Laryngoscopy should be performed, and any suspicious lesions biopsy to exclude this disease.

Sometimes there is pain, which persists on swallowing. Other times the first sign that there is a problem is when a secondary or metastases is found. Treatment always depends on the severity and extent of the disease and its location.

Normally first line is Radiotherapy, but surgery will always be used in an attempt to offer a better cure if it is appropriate. This will however involve the reconstruction of a substitute for the larynx or voice box and this can involve a tracheoesophageal fistula, which allows air to be drawn in to the esophagus from the trachea with a one way valve. This air is then pushed through during expiration, and is converted into speech.

It's quite common unfortunately for there to be a reoccurrence of some of these types of cancer in particular if they have been removed by surgery alone. Therefore regular follow-ups are essential, sometimes chemotherapy may follow on from other earlier treatments to try and prevent reoccurrence.

Additional Medical Conditions:

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