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Throat Cancer: Overview, Causes and Symptoms

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Last updated on : 16 May, 2024

Read time : 6 min

What is Throat cancer?

Cancer of the throat may refer to cancer that forms in either the voice box (larynx) or the pharynx. The muscles that make up your throat form a tube that starts behind your nose and extends down to your neck. The flat cells that line the inside of your throat are typically where throat cancer first shows itself. Your larynx, which is located directly below your throat, is another area of your body that is likely to develop throat cancer. When a person speaks, the sound is produced by the vibration of the vocal cords, which are contained inside the voice box, which is formed of cartilage.

Types of throat cancer

Cancer that begins in the voice box is referred to as laryngeal cancer, although the term “throat cancer” refers more generally to cancer that develops in the throat (pharyngeal cancer). Even though the majority of throat cancers involve the same kinds of cells, particular terminology is used to describe the parts of the throat where cancer developed.

1. Squamous cell carcinoma:

This specific variety of cancer cells is known to target the epithelial cells that line the pharynx numerous times.

2. Adenocarcinoma:

This type of cancer is not very common and shows itself as an infection of the glandular cells that are situated in the throat.

3. Pharyngeal cancer:

a) Nasopharynx cancer:

Nasopharyngeal cancer develops in the nasopharynx, which is the region of the throat that is located right below the nose.

b) Oropharynx (Tonsil) cancer

Oropharyngeal cancer develops in the oropharynx, which is the region of the throat that is located directly behind the mouth and surrounds the tonsils.

c) Hypopharynx cancer

Hypopharyngeal cancer (also called laryngopharyngeal cancer) develops in the hypopharynx (also called the laryngopharynx), which is the bottom section of your throat and is located directly above your oesophagus and your windpipe.

Early Warning Signs: Common Symptoms of Throat Cancer

There is a possibility that early throat cancer signs may be difficult to identify. The conditions are the same in the case of throat cancer as well. Throat cancer may present itself in a wide variety of ways, exhibiting a wide range of signs and symptoms. The following are some of the primary symptoms that are most commonly seen as well as the most significant:

  • Continuous coughing 
  • Visible changes in one’s voice, such as hoarseness or an inability to speak effectively.
  • Having difficulties with swallowing
  • Ear pain lump
  • Persistent pain in the throat
  • Losing some weight

Additional symptoms of throat cancer that may become visible in the later stages of the disease include the following:

  • Cough with blood.
  • Feels like something is trapped in the throat.
  • A painful burning sensation in the throat.
  • It is difficult to take a breath.
  • Lymph nodes are swollen.

If a person is experiencing any of these signs and symptoms, they need to make an appointment with their primary care physician as soon as possible and be tested. Because some of the symptoms of throat cancer are similar to those of a sore throat, a lot of individuals don’t pay enough attention to the warning indications that throat cancer might present. However, if any of these symptoms do not improve within two to three weeks, you need to make an appointment with a medical professional. Getting a proper diagnosis as soon as possible is essential to get effective therapy.

What Causes Throat Cancer?

Throat cancer develops when cells in the throat undergo genetic changes, which may lead to the disease. These mutations allow cells to proliferate uncontrollably and to continue surviving after they would normally die. The collection of cells in your throat has the potential to develop into a tumour.

It is not known which triggers the mutation that probably resulted in throat cancer. However, physicians have found certain characteristics which may push you at a greater risk.

  • The use of tobacco in any form, including smoking and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Infectious diseases are caused by viruses, such as human papillomavirus (HPV) and Epstein-Barr virus.
  • A diet that is deficient in fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • GERD is short for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • A workplace risk of being exposed to harmful chemicals
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Poor Diet
  • Exposure to asbestos

Treatment Options for Throat Cancer Patients

The treatment for throat cancer depends on many factors, including the size of the tumour, the subtype of cancer, the location of the disease, and whether or not it has spread. The physician will provide recommendations for treatments such as:

1. Surgical Treatment:

Surgery may be required to remove the tumour from your body if it is large sufficient. The form of surgery will also be determined by the location of cancer, and it is possible that it could include the removal of part of the pharynx, as well as the partial or whole removal of the larynx, thyroid, or tongue.

2. Radiation Therapy:

Following the surgical procedure, you could additionally undergo radiation treatment (also known as radiation therapy). In some situations, radiation will be the primary mode of treatment that is used.

3. Chemotherapy treatments

Chemotherapy may need to be administered in combination with radiation treatment in some cases. This is especially the case when the tumours are particularly large or when the disease has progressed to the lymph nodes. In certain cases, chemotherapy is administered before the surgical removal of a tumour to speed up its shrinkage.

Read moreFoods to eat during chemotherapy


Cancers are treatable only if they are detected at an early stage. Always be aware of yourself and try to get yourself tested as soon as you experience any such symptoms.

After consulting with your nearby physicians, you may also refer to our Truemeds Physicians, which provides free online consultations. We provide you with home medicine delivery, a discount offer, and monthly savings on your medical bill. Our online pharmacy, Truemeds, provides the highest-quality medications at the lowest prices. We provide all varieties of medications, including branded, over-the-counter, and nutritional supplements, as well as Generic medicines online at an affordable price. We are India’s most reliable and genuine online medicines supplier. When you select an alternative or generic drug that is advised by our Truemeds expert doctors, you may be able to save additional money when you make your order for prescriptions online. Truemeds provides necessary medicines savings of up to 72% off costs with PAN India home delivery.


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Our healthcare experts have carefully reviewed and compiled the information presented here to ensure accuracy and trustworthiness. It is important to note that this information serves as a general overview of the topic and is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, prevent, or cure any health problem. This page does not establish a doctor-patient relationship, nor does it replace the advice or consultation of a registered medical practitioner. We recommend seeking guidance from your registered medical practitioner for any questions or concerns regarding your medical condition.


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