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Throat Cancer

Also called: Hypopharyngeal cancer, Laryngeal cancer, Laryngopharyngeal cancer, Nasopharyngeal cancer, Oropharyngeal cancer, Pharyngeal cancer

Summary

Throat cancer is a type of head and neck cancer. Throat cancer has different names, depending on which part of the throat is affected. The different parts of your throat are called the oropharynx, the hypopharynx, the nasopharynx, and the larynx, or voice box.

The main risk factors for throat cancer are using tobacco heavy drinking. Certain types of throat cancer also have other risk factors. For example, having HPV is a risk factor for oropharyngeal cancer.

Symptoms of throat cancer may include

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • A lump in the neck
  • Pain or ringing in the ears
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Ear pain

To diagnose throat cancers, doctors may do a physical exam and history, imaging tests, and a biopsy. You may also need other tests, depending on the type of cancer. Treatments include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Treatment for some types of throat cancer may also include targeted therapy. Targeted therapy uses substances that attack cancer cells without harming normal cells.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

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Diagnosis and Tests

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Prevention and Risk Factors

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Treatments and Therapies

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Living With

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Related Issues

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Specifics

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Videos and Tutorials

Statistics and Research

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Clinical Trials

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Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

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Find an Expert

  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
  • (American Academy of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery)
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Patient Handouts

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