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Throat Cancer


  • Surgery: Surgery is the first-line of treatment for throat cancer, especially when the tumor is limited to the throat and has not spread to other body parts. In case the tumor has spread, a multi disciplinary approach is required. Some of the surgical interventions for treating throat cancer through surgery include:
      Surgical resection of the tumor: Surgical resection from the surface is done in case the cancer is in the early stage and has not spread to lymph nodes. The surgery may be done through an endoscope.
      Pharyngectomy: It involves the removal of some portions of the throat. The surgeon reconstructs the removed parts for easy swallowing.
      Laryngectomy: Laryngectomy involves the removal of the part of the larynx which is affected by cancer. The surgery aims to preserve as much of the larynx as possible.
      Cordectomy: This surgery involves the removal of some or all of the vocal cords.
      Lymph node dissection: The patients may undergo dissection of the nearby lymph nodes if cancer has invaded the lymph nodes.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy may be used for the treatment of throat cancer along with radiation (chemoradiation), before the surgery (neoadjuvant therapy), or after the surgery (adjuvant therapy). It is given before the surgery to shrink the size of the tumor and assists in killing the remaining cells when delivered after the surgery. Chemotherapy is usually given to patients with metastatic throat cancer.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may sometimes be used as a primary treatment modality in cases where the cancer is diagnosed early and is limited to the throat. In such cases, the surgery is usually not needed, and the voice quality of the patient is preserved. It is also prescribed for patients who are not eligible for surgery. Radiation therapy helps manage throat cancer recurrence and provides symptomatic relief in patients on palliative care.
  • Targeted therapy: Targeted drug therapy targets the proteins essential for cancer cell growth, division, and spread. This therapy targets the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is responsible for cancer cell growth. Targeted therapy, along with other therapies, such as radiation therapy, is usually used in advanced cancer.
  • Immunotherapy: Immunotherapy strengthens the immune system and interferes in the process that prevents the immune system from detecting and killing cancer cells. Immunotherapy slows the growth or shrinks tumors.

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