Throat cancer is a very painful medical condition that affects the larynx, which is the voice box that helps in production of human sound. The condition manifests itself as very painful swellings or tumors at the back of the throat area. Sometimes the tumor spreads to affect the vocal cords or even the tonsils.
It is a well-known fact that people who smoke a lot or drink too much alcohol stand a greater chance of developing throat cancer. This is because the harmful substances found in both tobacco and alcohol contribute to stress and inflammation of the throat area, and when this happens over a long period of time the cancer eventually grows. A combination of excessive smoking and drinking compounds the risks.
Throat cancer indicators include excess coughing that doesnâ€™t cure and produces phlegm coated with blood, swelling in the neck, persistent sore throat, swallowing with a lot of difficulty and pain, and involuntary weight loss that cannot be explained. A combination of any of these symptoms should be enough cause to visit the doctor and get a proper diagnosis. As with any other kind of cancer, early diagnosis is of paramount importance to arrest the growth before it spreads too far.
There are three main ways of getting a diagnosis â€" testing tissue samples from the throat, performing imaging tests, e.g. X-ray and endoscopy.
There are different types of throat cancer depending on where the tumor first occurs but the treatment remains the same â€" removing the tumor completely. For a tumor that has not spread too much, the treatment normally involves surgical procedure or radiation. For a more significant tumor that has affected a greater part of the throat area, chemotherapy will be combined with the radiation to remove it. In some adverse cases, the vocal cords have to be removed leaving the patient with a speech impairment which can be rectified using proper therapy.