Throat cancer can originate in the throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) or the upper throat section just behind the nose. Throat cancer can encompass other types of cancer like oropharyngeal, hypopharyngeal and glottic cancers.
Dr Purnendu Bhowmik of Clinica Health lists all the general signs and symptoms of throat cancer. He recommends consulting a doctor, getting diagnosed at the earliest and seeking esophageal cancer treatment in Kolkata if anyone experiences these symptoms.
Symptoms of Throat Cancer
- A Sore Throat
If a person experiences persistent throat pain for a long time, even after taking the proper medications or treatment, it can signify throat cancer. Get it checked as soon as possible.
- Voice Changes
Throat cancer will noticeably affect a person’s voice. Their voice can become husky or sound as if they have cold all the time. They may even have trouble pronouncing certain words or sounds.
- Trouble Swallowing
Problem with swallowing food is another common sign of throat cancer. A person with throat cancer might feel a burning sensation or as if food is sticking in their throat while swallowing. Other throat infections can also cause this problem; however, it persists for a long time in the case of throat cancer.
- Lump Formation in the Neck
A person with throat cancer might develop a lump in their neck caused by enlarged lymph nodes. The lump gradually grows more extensive and is a sure indicator of throat cancer or tumour. No usual throat infection would cause the formation of a lump in the neck.
- Weight Loss
Sudden weight loss is a common sign of throat cancer. Weight loss combined with painful or troublesome swallowing of food is a sure sign of throat cancer.
- Pain or Fullness in the ears
In the case of Nasopharyngeal cancer, a person may experience persistent blockage of the nose or eustachian tube. The blockage can cause a sensation of fullness or pain in the ears and hearing loss, particularly in one ear.
Treatment for Throat Cancer
Throat cancer treatment in Kolkata depends on the location and stage of cancer, the type of cells involved, whether the cells indicate HPV infection, overall health, and personal preferences.
The treatment options involve –
- Radiation Therapy & Chemotherapy – Radiation therapy may be the only treatment necessary for throat cancers that are small and have not affected the lymph nodes. In the case of advanced throat cancers, a doctor uses radiation therapy in combination with surgery and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells. In very advanced stages of throat cancer, radiation therapy or chemotherapy can reduce symptoms and make patients more comfortable.
- Surgery – There are several surgical options available to treat throat cancer. The choice of the type of surgery depends on the location and stage of cancer.
- Endoscopic surgery – Small throat cancers or throat cancer that is limited to the surface of the throat or the vocal cords can be treated surgically using endoscopy. Endoscopic surgery involves the insertion of a hollow endoscope into a person’s throat or voice box and then the passage of special surgical tools or a laser through the scope. Using these surgical tools or a laser scope, the doctor scrapes off or vaporizes the cancers.
- Pharyngectomy – Oropharyngeal cancer requires squamous cell carcinoma surgery. 90% of oropharyngeal cancer are squamous cell carcinomas arising from the flat surface cells lining the mouth and throat. In the case of small oropharyngeal cancer, pharyngectomy aims to remove small parts of a person’s throat during surgery. Features that are removed can be reconstructed to allow normal swallowing of food.
- Laryngectomy – For cancer that spreads to the voice box, laryngectomy is necessary. The surgery aims to remove a part or whole of a person’s voice box depending on the extent of cancer spread.