Throat cancer - OOKINFO
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6/06/2019

Throat cancer

Throat cancer is a malignant tumor that grows and develops in the throat area. These tumors come from cells that multiply in number out of control.

Based on the type of cell that turns into cancer, throat cancer is divided into two, namely squamous cell carcinoma (abnormalities occur in membranes) and adenocarcinoma (abnormalities occur in glandular cells).

While based on the area of the throat being attacked, throat cancer is grouped into 3, namely cancer of the pharynx, larynx, and tonsils. Cancer pharynx itself is divided into 3 types, namely nasopharyngeal cancer (cancer that attacks the upper throat), oropharynx (cancer that attacks the middle of the throat), and hypopharynx (cancer that attacks the lower part of the throat).


In Indonesia, throat cancer, especially nasopharyngeal cancer, ranks 4th as the most common cancer after breast cancer, cervical cancer, and lung cancer. GLOBOCAN data in 2012 showed that there were at least 87,000 new cases of nasopharyngeal cancer each year, of which 70% of sufferers were men.

Sufficiently high rates of throat cancer sufferers indicate that understanding and appropriate precautions are needed so that the incidence of cancer in the future can be suppressed.

Symptoms of Throat Cancer


Symptoms of throat cancer can vary and are not the same for each sufferer. Some indications include:

  • Difficult to swallow.
  • Voice changes, for example, hoarse or unclear ways of speaking.
  • Chronic cough.
  • Sore throat.
  • The ear that is sick or buzzing.
  • Lumps that don't heal.
  • Weight loss without obvious reasons.
  • Swelling of the eyes, jaw, throat or neck.

Symptoms of throat cancer tend to be similar to other health problems, making it difficult to detect. Consultation with a doctor should be done if you experience the above symptoms, especially those that do not improve or get worse.

Causes and Throat Cancer Risk Factors


All cancers occur due to mutations in cells. This mutation triggers uncontrolled cell growth. Similarly, throat cancer.
The cause of the mutation process is not yet known. But there are a number of factors that are thought to increase a person's risk for throat cancer, such as lifestyle and health conditions. Some examples are:

  • Tobacco use, both in the form of cigarettes and chewing.
  • Excessive consumption of liquor.
  • Dental health is not maintained.
  • Less consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  • Having HPV ( human papillomavirus ) virus infection and gastric acid or GERD.
 

Throat Cancer Diagnosis


In the early stages of the diagnosis, the doctor will ask about symptoms and medical history and conduct a physical examination. If the patient is suspected of having throat cancer, a more detailed examination will be recommended to confirm the diagnosis. These types of checks include:

  • Endoscopy or laryngoscopy.
  • Taking tissue samples or biopsies.
  • X-ray, CT, MRI, and PET scan. This examination is used to determine the extent of the spread of throat cancer.
 

Throat Cancer Stadium


Knowing how far the spread of throat cancer will help the doctor to determine the treatment steps to be taken by the patient. The spread is divided into five levels or stages, namely:

  • Stage 0: the tumor is only in the tissue in the throat.
  • Stage 1: the tumor is small (under 7 cm) and only attacks the throat.
  • Stage 2: the tumor is larger, but has not spread beyond the throat.
  • Stage 3: the tumor has spread to other tissues or organs near the throat.
  • Stage 4: the tumor has spread to tissues or organs outside the throat and/or lymph nodes.
 

Throat Cancer Treatment


Every person with throat cancer generally needs different treatments. Determination of the best treatment method depends on the patient's health conditions, the location of the growth of cancer, and the stage of cancer itself.

Detection and treatment as early as possible is the main key in dealing with all cancers, including throat cancer. Some treatment steps that will generally be undertaken by sufferers include:

  • Radiotherapy. If the cancer is at an early stage, sometimes radiotherapy is quite effective in overcoming it. As for advanced cancer, radiotherapy is done only to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of cancer.
  • Chemotherapy. Radiotherapy is also sometimes combined with chemotherapy because there are several types of chemotherapy drugs that can increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to the radiotherapy process. But this combination process will increase the potential for side effects of radiotherapy as well as chemotherapy.
  • Surgery. There are several types of surgery for throat cancer. The doctor will determine the type of surgery needed to be based on the stage and location of cancer growth. The types of operations include:
    • Surgical removal through endoscopy. This procedure is recommended for early-stage throat cancer.
    • Laryngectomy or surgical removal of part or all of the voice boxes affected by cancer. This operation is performed to treat small-sized tumors.
    • Pharyngectomy or removal procedure for part or all of the throat.
    • Procedure for removing neck lymph stains that have cancer. This operation is done if cancer has spread to the neck. This process is also used to check the level of spread of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
  • Drugs. Another handling step is to treat drugs that generally use cetuximab. This process will target weakness in cancer cells to inhibit its growth.

Methods for treating throat cancer can cause various complications and side effects, such as disruption of the ability to speak, eat, or swallow. Before undergoing certain medical treatment, the patient should discuss with the doctor about all the risks.

To maximize the treatment of throat cancer, there are a number of simple steps that can be taken. Among them is to stop smoking and stay away from consuming liquor.

Besides reducing the effectiveness of the treatment method, smoking and consuming alcoholic beverages can slow down the body's recovery process and increase the risk of recurrence of throat cancer.

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