The pharynx is the hollow, muscular tube that conducts air into the larynx and food into the esophagus. In addition, this duct, located in the neck and covered with mucous membrane, helps in breathing by communicating with the trachea.
In the moment in which they begin to propagate tumor cells in the tissue of this tube, it causes cancer of the pharynx, which includes cancer of the nasopharynx (upper throat behind the nose), oropharyngeal (middle part of the pharynx) and hypopharynx (lower part).
For this reason, pharyngeal cancer is a term that encompasses a set of malignant tumors that affect the throat and, for this reason, its name will be determined from the location where the cancer cells have spread.
All forms of cancer originate from the abnormal cellular mutation and its reproduction. These affected cells mature and reproduce without dying, so their numbers continue to increase and cause the tumor.
In terms of the causes that give rise to this pathology, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that more than 40 percent of cancers worldwide are related to tobacco use, causes, in addition, it causes 90 percent of cancers that affect the oral cavity.
- The symptoms that characterize this pathology are the following::
- Persistent cough and continuous sore throat.
- Pain in the neck or ear and even in the appearance of bumps in the area where the tumor is found. Discomfort when swallowing.
- Discomfort when swallowing may cause the patient to eat less, so significant weight loss may occur.
- As cancer progresses and other tissues are affected, the person may have voice changes and the voice may begin to ring rock.
Within prevention guidelines, whether it is a cancer in the throat or concentrated in the pharynx, specialists recommend quitting or not starting smoking.
Similarly, it is advisable to reduce alcohol consumption and maintain a healthy lifestyle based on adequate nutrition that reduces excess fats and sugars and establish a physical exercise routine.
There is currently no classification in types of pharyngeal cancer.
Imaging tests are used to detect the presence of pharyngeal cancer and, if tumor cells are suspected, an endoscopic examination of the throat will be conducted to assess the stage of the disease.
The main goal of treating this pathology is to completely remove tumors and thus prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. The procedure will depend on the development of the cancer.
Surgery and radiation therapy
First, if the tumor is small, surgery or radiation therapy may be chosen.
When the tumor is larger and is more extended towards the adjacent tissue, as may be the lymph nodes in the neck, is used, often a combination of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for the larynx is not affected and, therefore, the vocal cords.
In the case of chemotherapy, chemotherapy is based on the administration of certain drugs that help fight the pathology.
These may be injected intramuscularly or subcutaneously into an artery or vein and through tablets or injections into the fluid surrounding the spinal cord or brain.
If this treatment is given for a long time, specialists choose to place a thin catheter into a large, central line.
If the latter procedure does not help preserve the larynx, the larynx should be removed through surgery called a laryngectomy.