Throat cancer is common in smokers and it usually begins with the nose and spreads to the larynx, the pharynx or the mouth. It is important to know the symptoms of throat cancer because treatment following early detection is the only way to get rid of the disease for good. The common symptoms are:
- A lump or nodule in the base of the neck that is usually painful and leads to swelling
- A lump in the nose in the early stages of the disease
- A change in voice or hoarseness
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Unintentional weight loss
- High-pitched breathing sounds
- Coughing up blood
- A persistent sore throat that is not resolved even with antibiotics
Treatment of throat cancer
Treatment for throat cancer depends on the progress of the disease, the location of the tumor, the size of the tumor, age of the patient, and the general health condition of the patient.
- Surgery is the main treatment for the disease and if all the cancerous tissue is removed, the patient can get healed completely. Surgery is also done to improve other functions such as breathing. Small and mid-sized tumors are removed through laser microsurgery in advanced hospitals.
- Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is done to treat small tumors. With this treatment, the cancerous cells are killed with the help of a radiation. Radiotherapy is particularly effective when used with other treatment methods such as chemotherapy and surgery.
- Chemotherapy is the killing of cancerous cells using drugs. The drugs are taken intravenously or orally. The drugs and the dosage depend on the nature of the cancer, but you should note that this treatment has many side effects such as hair loss and nausea.
- Angiogenesis inhibitors are medicines that help stop the growth of new blood cells and since cancerous cells need blood to grow, this effectively stops the growth of the tumor. The most commonly used angiogenesis inhibitor is Cetuximab/erbitux.