Throat Cancer

Throat cancer is uncontrolled cell growth in the throat. The throat has many parts, and most of them can develop cancer. Around 3,000 different cancers start in a part of the pharynx. Throat cancer is rare compared to other types. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), pharyngeal cancers occur in about 1 percent of adults in the U.S., and less than 0.5 percent of adults are likely to have cancer of the larynx. The survival rate depends on the stage of the cancer and the area affected. 60.7 percent of people with laryngeal cancer survive for longer than 5 years, compared to 64.5 percent of individuals with pharyngeal cancer. Many types of throat cancer begin as squamous cell carcinoma. This occurs in the squamous cells that line the throat. It is listed by the American Cancer Society (ACS) as a skin cancer but runs the risk of developing into throat cancer when it affects the skin around the throat.

Symptoms

Every type of throat cancer is different. Symptoms depend on the stage and location of the cancer.

Common early symptoms of laryngeal and pharyngeal cancer include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Voice changes, especially hoarseness or not speaking clearly
  • Sore throat
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Swelling of the eyes, jaw, throat, or neck
  • Bleeding in the mouth or nose
  • A long-lasting cough
  • Coughing up blood
  • A lump or sore that does not heal
  • Wheezing or breathing problems
  • Pain when swallowing
  • Ear pain