Cancers that involve the throat, base of the tongue, tonsil, pharynx, or tube that extends from the nasal passages to the mouth to the esophagus and sinus are called oropharyngeal and hypopharyngeal cancers.
Risk factors for developing throat cancer may include:
Symptoms of throat cancer may include:
In making a diagnosis of throat cancer, your doctor will start by recording your medical history, asking about any symptoms you may be experiencing and conducting a thorough physical examination. Your doctor may also may recommend one or more of the following diagnostic tests:
Before having surgery, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you in detail and discuss any possible side effects.
If the tumor is small and localized, surgery will often successfully remove the tumor with few side effects. However, if the tumor is advanced and has spread to surrounding areas, surgery will be more extensive and may involve the removal of parts of your throat, mouth, jaw or voice box. In these cases, your ability to speak, chew, swallow and breathe may be affected.
Reconstructive surgery can help restore your appearance and rehabilitate speech and swallowing function. Prosthetic devices in your mouth may replace removed portions of your teeth, gums and jaw. In more advanced cases, you may need to use tubes for feeding and breathing and an artificial voice aid for speaking.
Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.