Throat Cancer News

Throat cancer is caused by genetic mutations in the cells of the pharynx. It can occur in the nasopharynx, which is the portion of the throat behind the nose; in the hypopharynx, which is the lower part of the throat; or in the oropharynx, the middle part of the throat. Throat cancer, which is sometimes referred to as pharyngeal cancer, is diagnosed in more than 13,000 people each year. It is also sometimes grouped together with cancer of the larynx (laryngeal cancer), which accounts for another 12,000 diagnoses annually. Together, they are categorized as head and neck cancers.

Regardless of which of the three parts of the throat are affected by cancer, its presentation is usually the same. The cancer forms in the squamous cells, which are the cells that line the throat, but it can spread to other areas from there.

Causes and Symptoms

Throat cancer is often a preventable disease, as many of the risk factors that lead to it are the result of lifestyle choices. For example, heavy use of alcohol, regular use of cigarettes or chewing tobacco and eating a nutrient-poor diet are all risk factors for developing throat cancer. Certain viruses may also raise the risk for some types of throat cancer.

The different forms of throat cancer share some common symptoms, including a persistent sore throat, pain in the neck or surrounding areas and difficulty swallowing. You might also detect a lump in the area, notice a change in voice, have a persistent cough or experience nosebleeds or ringing in the ears.

Treatment of Throat Cancer

Radiation therapy is often the first line of defense in trying to eradicate throat cancer. The radiation can be delivered from outside the body by a machine that is aimed at the throat, or it can be given via a tube that's inserted in the mouth. Chemotherapy is also sometimes administered to kill cancer cells. In general, surgery is considered an option of last resort for throat cancer, used only if radiation therapy is unsuccessful. Surgery may involve removal of the lymph nodes and other tissues in the neck.

SOURCES: U.S. National Cancer Institute

Date Posted
Article Title
Oral Sex Plus Smoking a Cancer Danger for Men

Risk of head and neck tumors tied to HPV infection jumps to 15 percent for this group, study finds

HPV Vaccine May Also Prevent Cancers Affecting Men

Study finds the cervical cancer vaccine cuts infection for viruses tied to oral, head and neck cancers

Prison Time Can Be Deadly … to Health

Inmates at elevated risk of developing cancer, dying from their disease, study finds

Nearly Half of U.S. Men Infected With HPV, Study Finds

Although a vaccine is available, too few are getting it when young

Artificial 'Voice Box' Implant Helps Cancer Patient Speak

New device has improved long-term quality of life for man who had larynx removed

'Medical Tattoos' Help Hide Surgical Scars

Pigments can restore more natural appearance that patients are happy with, study finds

Head and Neck Cancers May Be Linked to Hepatitis C

Researcher sees need for improved screening, treatment

Vaccine Has Cut HPV Infection Rate in Teen Girls by Two-Thirds: Study

Still, too few girls and boys getting vaccinated against the virus that causes cervical cancer, other malignancies, researchers say

Head, Neck Cancer Patients May Be at Higher Risk for Suicide: Study

Dependence on breathing tubes, feeding tubes might play a part in despair, researcher says

HPV-Linked Throat Cancer Responds to Reduced Chemo, Radiation: Study

Lower doses also lower unwanted side effects, doctors report

One or Two Drinks a Day Might Boost Cancer Risk: Study

Limit alcohol consumption, especially if you've ever smoked, experts say

Blood, Saliva Tests May Spot Head and Neck Cancers Early

Study shows potential for noninvasive tumor detection

Smoking Blamed for Half of Deaths From Major Cancers in People Over 35

Eighty percent of lung cancer deaths linked to smoking, researchers say

HPV Vaccination for Girls May Help Prevent Cancers in Males

But, while they remain at risk of infection, immunizing boys may not be cost-effective, study says

Report Shows Progress in America's War on Cancer

Small, but steady declines in deaths seen over past decade

Cancer Patients Who Smoke, Drink May Face Longer Feeding Tube Use

But it's not clear from study if dropping these habits would shorten the time people need outside nutrition

Oral HPV Infection Lasts Longer in Older Men, Study Finds

Potentially cancer-causing infection appears to linger in males over 45

Antacids May Improve Head and Neck Cancer Survival

Reason for benefit unclear, more research is needed, study author says

Study Shows Men Can Get Oral HPV Infection From Women

Virus could put them at raised risk for throat cancers, researchers say

Tobacco Tied to Higher Risk of Oral HPV Infection, Study Finds

Researchers say smoking and 'chew' raised odds for the virus, which is linked to mouth, throat cancer

Anal, Throat Cancers on the Rise Among Young Adults, Study Finds

HPV is the main culprit, but vaccination can reduce the risk, experts say

HPV-Linked Oral Cancers May Not Be 'Contagious'

Kissing doesn't seem to raise rate of viral infection between committed partners, study finds

HPV-Linked Throat Cancer May Have Telltale First Symptoms

Signs of potential trouble could be different in people without the virus, study suggests

Advanced Tonsil Cancer May Respond Well to Targeted Radiation

Early study sought to reduce patients' exposure to radiation's side effects

Why Many U.S. Preteens Aren't Getting the HPV Shot

Review found cost, fear of kids becoming sexually active deters some parents

Researchers Tie Increased Throat Cancer Cases to HPV Infection

More whites develop cancers linked to oral sex, but blacks have worse survival rates, study finds

Poor Oral Hygiene Tied to Cancer-Linked Virus, Study Finds

Avoiding HPV is yet another reason to take care of your teeth, gums, experts say

Family History of Cancer May Raise Risk for Other Types of Tumors

Large European study looked at people with close relatives who'd been affected

Single Men Show Higher Risk of Cancer-Linked Oral HPV

But overall risk is low, and virus usually clears within a year, study found

HPV Vaccine Might Shield Women Against Throat Cancer: Study

Vaccination already recommended for boys and girls to guard against sexually transmitted infections

Cutting Unneeded CT Scans in Kids Could Lower Future Cancer Risk

Reducing radiation dosage would also help, study found

Chronic Heartburn May Raise Odds for Throat Cancer: Study

But simple antacids appear to lower the risk, researchers report

Primary Care Docs Shouldn't Screen All Patients for Oral Cancer: Experts

Too little evidence that it helps adults without symptoms, U.S. Preventive Services Task Force says

CDC Launches New Graphic Antismoking Ads

Emotional ads put a face to devastating effects from both smoking and secondhand smoke

Some HPV-Linked Cancers Rising in U.S.: Report

Changing sexual practices a likely reason; vaccination urged

Coffee May Lower Risk of Death From Mouth Cancer: Study

Drinking more than 4 cups per day also lowered odds of dying from a type of throat cancer

Dentists Play Key Role in Detecting Oral Cancer

Ask for screening as part of your general checkup, experts say

HPV-Related Head, Neck Cancers on the Rise

However, incidence decreased for younger blacks, analysis finds

Oral HPV Infection Strikes Men More Than Women: Study

Sex, smoking associated with raised risk of transmission, researchers report

Many Head and Neck Cancer Survivors Face Eating Problems

Poor throat function, depression and pain are common, study finds

Fewer Dying in U.S. From Throat, Mouth Cancer, Study Finds

Death rates improved most for patients with more than 12 years' education

U.S. Health Officials Back HPV Vaccine for Boys

The sexually transmitted virus causes a range of cancers, including cervical, penile and oral malignancies

Esophageal Cancer Risk Less Dire for Certain Patients: Study

Large Danish analysis finds lower-than-expected risk from Barrett's esophagus

HPV-Linked Oral Cancers on the Rise, Study Finds

Oral sex may be means of tumor-causing virus transmission in many cases, experts say

More U.S. Men Die From Cancer Than Women: Study

But disparity mirrors differences in incidence, not ability to fight disease, researchers say

Rise in Some Head and Neck Cancers Tied to Oral Sex: Study

Changes in sexual activity linked to increased HPV-related tongue, tonsil malignancies