What is throat cancer?
The larynx is an organ located in the neck area. Its scientific name is the larynx. The neck is an organ that comes after the pharynx, which is known as the pharynx among people. Its continuation is the trachea, that is, the windpipe. This is an important, part of the respiratory tract, which will continue with the lungs. The larynx also contains vocal cords.
The sound formed in the vocal cords echoes in the pharynx, oral cavity, and nose and becomes audible. Throat cancer is seen in an average of five out of every 100 thousand people in society. This disease occurs as a result of some cells in the larynx area multiplying uncontrollably and becoming tumors. Smoking is the most important risk factor. It is about 20 times more common in people who have a smoking habit.
What are the Symptoms of Throat Cancer?
Among the most basic symptoms of throat cancer are hoarseness and changes in voice quality. However, in order for such symptoms to appear, the tumor must appear either on the vocal cords. Instead, it must appear in a different area and advance to the vocal cords. For this reason, you should definitely consult an ENT disease specialist for a long time, especially in hoarseness exceeding two weeks.
Other symptoms seen in throat cancer are:
- Feeling stuck in the throat
- Pain during swallowing
- Pain in the throat and ears
- In Advanced Cases
- Difficulty swallowing
- Symptoms such as bloody sputum are among the complaints of patients
If cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the neck area, growing swelling on the side of the neck is also among the symptoms seen.
Treatment Methods of Throat Cancer
The choice of laryngeal cancer treatment method; depends on where and what size the tumor is in the larynx. It is also made according to the stage of the tumor, the presence of neck and distant spread (metastasis), the age of the person, and the general health status.
The most commonly used method in the treatment of throat cancer is surgical operations in which part or all of the larynx is removed along with the cancerous tissue. In some of these surgeries, a hole called tracheostomy is made in the windpipe at the front of the neck. After that, the patient is allowed to breathe from there. This hole is opened so that patients who have only a part of the larynx removed can breathe safely in the postoperative period.
In a few days, it is also closed. However, in surgeries where the entire larynx is removed, this hole can be permanent for life. If the cancer cells have spread to the lymph nodes in the neck or if there is such a possibility, the lymph nodes in the neck should also be cleaned during surgery. The sound quality does not decrease in patients in whom part of the larynx is removed. Speech problems may occur after surgeries in which the entire larynx is removed. However, this problem can be alleviated by wearing a voice prosthesis and voice training.