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Last Updated: Mar 15, 2022
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Throat Cancer: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? What are the early signs of Throat Cancer? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? What foods prevent Throat Cancer? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Throat cancer is a condition wherein cancerous tumours may develop in your throat (pharynx), voice box (larynx) or tonsils. Suffering from constant cough, pain in throat or ear, difficulty in swallowing or lump/ sore that is not healing, can be symptoms of throat cancer. You must visit a doctor if you find any of these conditions to be persistent. Throat cancer can be cured by radiation therapy if detected at an early stage. The tumour can be removed through surgery. In some conditions, all/ part of voice box or part of throat may also have to be removed by surgery. Chemotherapy is done to kill cancer cells by using certain drugs.

What are the early signs of Throat Cancer?

Signs and symptoms of Throat Cancer may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Ear pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • A lump or sore that doesn't heal
  • Changes in your voice, such as hoarseness or not speaking clearly
  • A cough

Does Throat Cancer develop quickly?

Throat Cancer is a rare form of cancer that develops in the throat, larynx, or tonsils. Some of its most common symptoms include a persistent sore throat and/or cough, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, ear pain, and a neck mass. It can develop quickly, which is why early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

How is the treatment done?

High energy beams are used to kill cancer cells in radiation therapy. Sources such as x rays and protons are used to deliver these high energy beams that are quite effective if your throat cancer has been detected at the first stage itself. Surgery is used in a little more critical condition. If confined to surface of the throat, cancer can be treated by the use of endoscopy. A hollow endoscope will be inserted in your throat or mouth through which surgical tools or laser will be passed. The tools can cut off and the laser can vaporise very superficial cancers. In some situations, a part of your voice box where the cancer exists may have to be removed. Some parts of throat may also need to be removed, depending on the severity. A dissection will be made near your neck and then, the cancerous lymph nodes will be removed surgically.

Is Throat Cancer curable?

Early-stage cancers of the throat are small, localized, and highly curable when treated with surgery and/or radiation therapy. The early-stage disease includes stage I, II, and some stage III cancers.

  • Stage I cancer is no more than 2 centimeters in size (about 1 inch) and has not spread to lymph nodes in the area.
  • Stage II cancer is more than 2 centimeters, but less than 4 centimeters (less than 2 inches) and has not spread to lymph nodes in the area.
  • Stage III cancer can be considered “early” if it is small and involves only a single lymph node, which can be surgically removed or treated with radiation with a high probability of cure.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If you experience constant pain in throat or difficulty in swallowing you should get it examined by a doctor as it could be the sign for throat cancer. Also, if there is a lump or sore in your throat which has not healed in a long time, it is a matter to be looked into.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Constant pain in throat may just be tonsil pain. Get a thorough check up done.

Are there any side effects?

The high energy beams used in radiation therapy may cause irritation in skin for some time. Sense of smell and taste may change. One may also go through temporary or permanent hoarseness in voice, dry mouth and difficulty in swallowing.

When should I be concerned about Throat Cancer?

The signs and symptoms of Throat Cancer may be difficult to identify in the early stages of the disease. The most common early warning sign of Throat Cancer is a persistent sore throat. If you have a sore throat that lasts for more than two weeks, then it is advised to see a doctor immediately.

Is Throat Cancer painful?

Throat Cancer can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food. You might feel like food is sticking in your throat.

A lump in your neck: You may have a lump in your neck caused by an enlarged lymph node. Swelling in one or more lymph nodes in the neck is a common symptom of Throat Cancer, as well as other head and neck cancers.

Lumps that come and go are not usually due to cancer. Cancer usually forms a lump that slowly gets bigger.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

You must look after your diet by including as many fruits and vegetables as possible. Quit smoking and avoid drinking alcohol. Make regular appointments with your doctor to keep your progress in check.

How long does it take to recover?

You may be able to walk and do your regular activities in about a week but you must rest well for 3-4 weeks before resuming more vigorous activities.

How Long Can Throat Cancer go untreated?

The survival of patients with stage T4a larynx cancer who are untreated is typically less than one year. The symptoms associated with the untreated disease include severe pain and the inability to eat, drink, and swallow. Death can frequently occur due to asphyxiation of the airway from the untreated tumor.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Treatment for throat cancer may cost you between ₹100000 to ₹150000.

What foods prevent Throat Cancer?

Some cancer risk factors, such as genetics and environment, are out of your control, but research suggests that about 70% of your lifetime risk of cancer is within your power to change, including your diet.

  • Diets high in fruit may lower the risk of stomach and lung cancer.
  • Eating vegetables containing carotenoids, such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, and squash, may reduce the risk of lung, mouth, pharynx, and larynx cancers.
  • Diets high in non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and beans, may help protect against stomach and esophageal cancer.
  • Eating oranges, berries, peas, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, and other foods high in vitamin C may also protect against esophageal cancer.
  • Foods high in lycopene, such as tomatoes, guava, and watermelon, may lower the risk of prostate cancer.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

No treatment for cancer is permanent. You must take care of your body very well once you have been treated for it. Ensure that you are consuming a healthy diet and have stopped smoking and drinking alcohol.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are no alternative treatments for throat cancer but you may find treatments like acupuncture, massage therapy and meditation to be of help as they may speed up the healing process.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi, I am 26 year old female suffering from fibroadenosis in both breast. Doctor recommended to take sevista 60. Could you please confirm it can cure fibroadenosis and if there is any side effects of sevista in future pregnancy.

MBBS, Diploma in Advanced Obstetrics and Gynaecological Ultrasound
Gynaecologist, Hyderabad
Sevista is a contraceptive pill andregarding pregnancy u will be pregnant after stopping treatment
1 person found this helpful

My wife is getting treatment for breast cancer. Yesterday she received chemotherapy and today we have sex without precaution. Is it safe to have sex while chemo?

MD - Radiothrapy
Oncologist, Vadodara
Use precaution for sex, while on chemotherapy. If pregnancy happen, we have to go for abortion. Chemotherapy will be very toxic for fetus.

Hi, I had an abortion last month and I was prescribed novelon. Just wanted to know is it still necessary to take the pill if I am not having intercourse and does it increase my risk of cancer or other side effects though I don't have a family history.

MBBS, MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology)
Gynaecologist, Pune
Novelon may be prescribed for a single cycle post abortion to ensure timely menses. Later it's your call whether to continue using it as a contraceptive.

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Content Details
Written By
MS - ENT
Ear-Nose-Throat (ENT)
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