Throat Cancer

Cancer » Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is one of the most common cancers and may originate in the vital organs like the throat, voice box or tonsils. The disease is more common in males as compared to females. Usually, the cancer occurs in males aged above 50 years.

Understanding throat cancer

Detection of cancer of the throat in its initial stages is vital to eliminate it completely or at least control the intensity of cancerous cells. Cancer of the throat may originate in various areas of the throat. Hence, any unusual changes in the voice or frequent soaring and infections in the throat must not be taken lightly.

Laryngeal and pharyngeal are two main types of the cancers originating in the throat. Laryngeal cancer develops in the voice box (also known as larynx) while the pharyngeal cancer develops in the hollow tube like organ that connects the rear side of the nose to the esophagus and the windpipe. Cancer may develop in any part of the pharynx like the hypopharynx, oropharynx and nasopharynx. Hypopharynx is the bottom part, oropharynx is the middle part and the nasopharynx is the upper part of the pharynx.

Throat Cancer PictureSquamous cell carcinoma is the most common type of throat cancer and accounts for almost 85-90% of the cases of cancer in the throat occurring worldwide. Squamous cells are the kind of cells that form the outer lining and are the primary target of the cancerous cells. Malignant cells infect the squamous cells and penetrate into the inner layers in due course. These cancerous cells invade the live and healthy tissues and create obstacles in their smooth functioning. Tissues perform a key role in supplying blood and oxygen to the live cells and play a constructive role in the mechanism of cell growth.

When the malignant cells invade the healthy tissues, the cells start behaving abnormally. This leads to rapid division and growth of cells and results into generation of excess number of cells. Such excessive and infected cells gather in a particular area and form a lump like structure. This lump is generally known as tumor. In the conditions where the cancer has already reached an advanced stage, the tumor shows a typical tendency to metastasize. Metastasis is a process in which the tumor divides and spreads to other parts of the body forming separate tumors in the area it invades. Metastasis plays a key role in increasing the intensity of cancer as the number of tumors keep on increasing rapidly and spread to vital areas of the body.

Cancerous cells not only force the live and healthy cells to behave abnormally but also prevent the normal old cells from dying in a natural way. Thus, the number of infected cells keeps on increasing consistently and complete elimination of tumor becomes a difficult task. Tumors are primarily of two distinct types as benign and cancerous. Benign tumors look quite similar to the cancerous ones but are usually harmless to the body cells and tissues. They do not show a tendency to invade tissues or force the cells to divide and grow rapidly. Elimination of benign tumors is easy as they can be safely removed by surgery. Also, they hardly show any tendency to reappear.

On the contrary, the cancerous tumors play a highly destructive role as their primary target is to kill tissues and disturb the overall cell development mechanism. They replace the normal cells by the malignant ones and form cancerous tumors. They metastasize rapidly and spread to different areas of the body through the bloodstream and lymph nodes. Hence, it is necessary that the cancerous tumors get detected right in the initial stages. It is very difficult to cure malignant tumors if they reach an advanced stage as they show a high tendency to recur.

Safety tips to tackle throat cancer

Cancer of the throat can be fatal if left unattended for a long time. Hence, it is necessary to take even the benign tumors seriously as they may turn cancerous with the passage of time. Some of the important body examination techniques like the ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and X-rays are recommended to detect and diagnose the intensity and nature on the tumor. Biopsy, positron emission tomography (PET) test, endoscopy and computed tomography (CT) scan are some other basic tests to examine the body internally.

Recent research has proved the infection of human papillomavirus (HPV) as a threat to the development of cancerous cells in the throat or adjacent areas. Unsafe sex practices and having numerous sex partners is the main reason for the development of HPV. Smoking and excess alcohol consumption is another important reason for early development of cancerous cells in one's body. Also, regular tobacco chewers have a high risk of being prone to the disease. These habits play a destructive role in killing tissues and damaging your body internally. This may also develop into ulcers leading to failure of vital organs to perform efficiently.

Bad immune system is a major cause of development of cancerous tumors in the throat cancer. Poor immunity prevents your body from fighting the infectious cells effectively. This creates a condition conducive for the malignant cells to develop and metastasize and form tumors. Balanced diet with regular consumption of fruits and salads is advantageous. Also, regular exercise and eating fresh vegetables can benefit considerably in strengthening your immune system.

Unusual soar in the throat, throat infections and swelling in the neck must be treated urgently. Bleeding from the throat or the adjacent areas, lump in the throat, difficulty in chewing and swallowing and unexpected ear pains are some other basic symptoms of the abnormal behavior of cancerous cells. Unexpected weight loss and considerable loss of appetite are other important symptoms and need a thorough diagnosis.

Throat cancer is curable if diagnosed in the initial period. Radiation therapy and surgery are one of the common treatment methods to curb cancer cells. Also, some may be advised to undergo chemotherapy depending upon the sustainability of their body.

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