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Throat cancer is a disease the treatment of which requires the cooperation of an ENT and an oncologist. Only after a physical examination and interpretation of the results of histopathological examinations, the doctor may decide on further treatment. Find out what tests are carried out to diagnose throat cancer, what is the treatment for this type of cancer, and which patients have the best prognosis.
Throat cancer treatmentincludes pharmacotherapy, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgical procedures that involve removing a part or even the entire throat together with the neoplastic tumor. In extreme cases, only palliative treatment is possible. The decision on which treatment method is best for the patient is made by the doctor after analyzing the test results.
Throat cancer - diagnosis
If throat cancer is suspected, the doctor first performs an endoscopic examination. Another method of examination may be laryngoscopy, i.e. a thorough examination of the entire vocal apparatus. If any abnormalities are found, the doctor takes samples of the neoplastic tissue for a biopsy. The final diagnosis is based on the histopathological examination.
Imaging tests, such as X-rays, computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission computed tomography (PET), are also helpful.
Throat cancer - prognosis
Patients diagnosed with the disease at an early stage have the best prognosis. Early forms of the disease give 90% survival for 5 years from the moment of diagnosis. However, patients are very rarely concerned about the first symptoms of throat cancer, as they are similar to a common respiratory infection. Therefore, most often the disease is diagnosed at an advanced stage. Patients with oropharyngeal cancer have the best prognosis then. Within 5 years from the diagnosis of the disease, approx. 70% of patients survive. sick.
In the case of nasopharyngeal cancer, the prognosis is not favorable. Doctors' experience shows that most people diagnosed with this type of throat cancer die within 5 years of diagnosis.
However, one of the worst-prognostic neoplasms not only of the throat, but also of the head and neck, is laryngeal cancer. Research shows that within 5 years of diagnosis, only everybody experiencesthe fifth patient.
Throat cancer - treatment
Treatment options depend on many factors, such as the stage of the disease, the location of the tumor, the age of the patient and other diseases with which he or she is struggling.
When diagnosed with throat cancer, Cetuximab (Erbitux) is the most commonly used, which inhibits the growth of neoplastic cells. It is usually associated with radiation therapy (in advanced disease) and chemotherapy (in recurrent disease and / or metastatic disease).
Radiotherapy may be helpful in the early stages of the disease. In the advanced stage of the disease, radiotherapy may be combined with chemotherapy and surgical treatment.
Neoplastic lesions that are confined to the surface of the pharynx or vocal cords can be removed during endoscopic surgery, using conventional microsurgical instruments (forceps) or with a CO2 laser beam.
In the case of smaller tumors located in the lower pharynx, the doctor may use laryngectomy - a procedure involving partial or total removal of the larynx. After surgery, most patients retain the ability to speak and breathe.
In extreme cases, it is necessary to remove the entire larynx. The trachea then fuses with the opening in the throat to allow the patient to breathe.
Only a few patients require partial or all pharyngectomy to be removed. Surgical removal of the entire throat usually involves the removal of the vocal cords. During surgery, the doctor rebuilds or recreates the throat to facilitate swallowing.