Throat Cancer, Causes, Symptoms and Preventions

Recently, it was heard that a popular Nigerian musician, Sound Sultan, died from a throat cancer and this had left many people worried, because some says he doesn't drink alcoholic drinks while some says he doesn't smoke, but not only alcohols and smoking can cause throat cancers. 

What is throat cancer? 

Throat cancer generally refers to cancers that start in the pharynx or larynx (voice box), but can also refer to cancers that start in the oesophagus (food pipe) or thyroid. Some cancers which begin in the throat area, as well as the tongue, salivary glands, sinuses, nose or ear, are classified as head and neck cancers.

The two main types of cancer that are commonly referred to as throat cancers are pharyngeal and laryngeal cancers - cancer of the pharynx and the larynx.




Throat cancer symptoms
Symptoms for throat cancers can include:

throat pain

shortness of breath

persistent sore throat or cough

coughing up blood

changes to the voice such as hoarseness

difficulties swallowing

feeling there is something stuck in the throat

lumps in the neck or throat

sudden unexplained weight loss.


Causes of throat cancer

Risk factors for throat cancers include:

smoking tobacco

excessive alcohol consumption

human papillomavirus (HPV)

epstein-barr virus (EBV)

poor diet

family history of cancer.


Diagnosis of throat cancer
Tests to diagnose pharyngeal or laryngeal cancer may include:

Physical examination
Your doctor will examine your mouth, throat and neck and may insert a gloved finger into your mouth to examine areas that are difficult to see.

Blood tests
Samples may be taken to check your general health.

Biopsy
The doctor will remove a small sample of tissue or cells for examination under a microscope to see if cancer cells are present.

Endoscopy of the larynx
A thin tube with a light on its end (endoscope) will be inserted through the nose to look for abnormalities in the throat.

Ultrasound
A small device called a transducer is used to send out soundwaves that echo when they hit something dense such as an organ or tumour.

X-rays
You may have a chest x-ray to check your overall health or to see if cancer has spread to the lungs.

CT scan
A CT (computerised tomography) scan uses x-ray beams to create detailed cross-sectional images of inside your body.

MRI
An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan uses magnet and radio waves to create detailed images of the inside of your body.

PET scan
A PET (positron emission tomography) scan combined with a CT scan, is often recommended. Radioactive material is injected into the body to help show cancer cells.

Treatment for throat cancer
Treatment will depend on the size of the cancer, whether it has spread and your overall health

Staging
Tests for throat cancers will confirm if you have cancer and how far it has spread. This is called staging and will help your doctors determine the best treatment options for you. Treatments for throat cancers include surgery, radiation therapy (radiotherapy) and chemotherapy, or a combination of one or more of these.

Surgery
Depending on the size of the tumour, you may be recommended surgery to have it removed. The type of surgery will also depend on the location of the cancer and may involve removing part of the pharynx or the partial or full removal of the larynx, thyroid or tongue.

Radiation therapy (radiotherapy)
After surgery, you may also receive radiation therapy (also known as radiation therapy). In some cases radiotherapy will be the principal treatment type.

Chemotherapy
In some instances, chemotherapy may be required along with radiation, particularly if the tumours are large or the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes. Chemotherapy may also be used to shrink tumours prior to surgery.

Preventing throat cancer
Around 60% of pharyngeal and laryngeal cancers in Australia are caused by smoking; around 30% are caused by excess alcohol consumption. So quitting smoking and moderating alcohol consumption will significantly reduce your risk of developing throat cancer.

Source/Credit : https://www.cancer.org.au/cancer-information/types-of-cancer/throat-cancer

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