Throat cancer is a condition referred to any malicious cancers which are being developed inside the throat. Your throat is basically a muscular tube which starts behind the nose, ending in the neck. Speech organs which are positioned in beneath the throat are also sensitive towards cancerous diseases, including vocal cords which are used to create voice. Throat cancer can also affect the cartilage which acts as the lid for the trachea (windpipe). Obviously, this is a malicious disease which grows slowly without showing any typical symptoms right off the bat. Symptoms which will occur in a close period afterwards highly depend on the localization and intensity of the cancer.
Throat cancer is extremely common with men, being very rare with women. Approximately, there are about 97% of men throat cancers with only 3% which are affecting women. Looking on an even larger scale, throat cancer makes up for about 2% of all malicious tumors known to man.
Process of throat cancer development
Typically, cancer is a fairly dangerous disease, although not all cancers are malicious. All of these tumors have some kind of an effect on the building block of our body – the cell. Cancer initiates once cells become abnormal and start multiplying without any order or control. Just like all other organs inside our body, throat is also composed of cells. Normally, these cells are shared so that more cells are produced when body requires them. This is a process which makes us healthy.
However, if these cells start to multiply when there is no need for them (like healing), a tumorous body will be created. This tumor is called cancer if it’s about a malicious and possibly fatal nature.
Throat cancer is also known as larynx cancer and can develop in every larynx segment. In case when the tumor is spreading outside the throat, it’s first to appear inside the lymph nodes in the neck; it can also spread into the rear part of the tongue and other parts of throat and neck, lungs and other parts of the body.
With all the current researches and findings being public, it has been proven that people, who smoke, eat irregularly and are exposed to all diseases and conditions due to a weakened immunological system are a risk group for throat cancer.
Common symptoms of throat cancer
Symptoms of throat cancer highly depend on size and localization of the tumor itself. Most of throat cancers are located on the vocal glands. These tumors are rarely painful, but they always cause lack of voice and other voice shifts. Tumors in the area above the voice glands may be a cause for lumps to appear on the neck, throat ache and pain in the ear region. Tumors positioned above the voice glands may cause issues with breathing which can be quite noisy as well.
Coughs which are difficult to cope with or a sensation of a foreign body inside the throat can also be signs which are used to detect throat cancer. As the tumor grows, pain may occur, extreme weight loss, bad breath as well as food choking. In some cases, throat cancer can cause severe issues with breathing and swallowing. All of these symptoms may be caused by throat cancer or some other, less serious causes. Only a doctor may establish the cause with high certainty.
Throat cancer treatment
Possibilities for treatment depend on a lot of factors, such as localization and stage of throat cancer, types of cells which are involved in the cancerous growth, your general health condition and personal desires. You can discuss all of the treatment methods with your doctor so that the most appropriate treatment may be found.
Possibilities of treatment include radiotherapy, which uses beams of high energy. These beams can destroy cancer cells. In an early stage of cancer, treatment may involve radiation exclusively, while in advanced stages, this method is used to reduce signs and symptoms. Surgical treatment of throat cancer is another valid option, but it is limited only to the surface of the throat or voice glands. In some cases, the entire throat might be removed in order to prevent any higher issues along with disease’s development.
Chemotherapy is possibly one of the most famous cancer treatment methods which is used on a variety of different cancers. This is basically a mixture of chemicals being ingested by the patient which are powerful enough to kill cancer cells. It usually comes paired with radiation.
Target therapy is used with drugs that are capable of using specific lacks in some cells or preventing the cells from multiplying further.
Rehabilitation after surgery
Surgery is the most common method of dealing with chronic cancers, and even though it’s a fairly simple and straightforward process, rehabilitation might be an issue. With people who have had their throat surgically removed, there is no option of accumulating voice in a natural way. However, today it is possible to enable speech even after complete removal of the throat in several ways. None of the methods being used today are universal and appropriate for all patients. Depending on the general condition of the patient, motivation for a specific method as well as capabilities of health institutions and education of doctors, the best possible individual method is chosen.
Speech prosthesis is a common method of speech rehabilitation. It is about a surgical process which is used to direct a flow of air through the speech prosthesis into the throat where voice is formed. This device can be installed at any point in time, and is considered to be a very quick method of rehabilitation.
There are several other methods which include a huge amount of effort from the patient, such as controlled breathing and accumulation of voice in a completely different way. Due to the difficulties many people face while trying these methods, they are slowly drifting away, being replaced by voice and speech prosthesis devices which are far more convenient and easier to work with.