What is throat (larynx) cancer?
Throat cancer is a general term that usually refers to cancer of the pharynx and/or larynx. Regions included when considering throat cancer include the nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, glottis, supraglottis and subglottis. About half of throat cancers develop in the larynx and the other half in the pharynx. Consequently, any cancers that develop in these regions of the throat are considered throat cancers.
What are the types of throat (larynx) cancer?
Squamous cell carcinoma: Most common type of throat cancer
Adenocarcinoma: Cancer of glandular cells that release mucus
Other types that may occur rarely are:
Spindle cell carcinoma
What is the treatment for throat cancer?
Treatment aims to sustain the patient’s ability to eat, speak, and live a normal healthy life. Short descriptions of the major components for throat cancer therapy are as follows:
Surgery: There are many types of surgery for throat cancer, including minimally invasive, transoral laser microsurgery, endoscopic, laser, robotic, and tumor excision surgery, like supracricoid partial laryngectomy to allow more normal function in swallowing and speech without a stoma i.e. a surgically made opening in the neck that allows breathing.
Chemotherapy: These are drugs used to shrink tumors and/or kill cancer cells after surgery and/or radiation treatment. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other therapies.
Radiation therapy: Brachytherapy involves placement of radioactive beads close to a tumor. 3-D radiation beam therapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy may be tailored to the specific shape of the tumor.
Proton therapy: This radiation doses using pencil beam technology directed at the tumor while preserving nearby healthy tissue.
Targeted therapies: These drugs are used to stop the growth of cancer cells by interfering with proteins and/or other receptors on cancer cells.
Cancer clinical trials: This involves the use of experimental drugs or other methods that may show promise in survival and/or reduction in clinical symptoms.