Throat cancer is a general term that usually refers to cancer of the pharynx i.e area that connects your throat area with esophagus and/or larynx i.e. the area which has the vocal cords. Regions included when considering throat cancer include the nasopharynx, oropharynx, hypopharynx, glottis, supraglottis and subglottis. About half of throat cancers develop in the larynx and the other half in the pharynx. Consequently, any cancers that develop in these regions of the throat are considered as throat cancer. The good thing about the throat cancers is that they are treatable if detected early and the bad part is that delay in treatment of throat cancer may lead to voice loss. In most cases if detected early surgery is the main line of treatment for throat cancer in India.
Esophageal cancers include additional potential symptoms of burning or pain (pressure) in the throat and/or chest since they can extend from just below the pharynx to the junction of the esophagus and stomach.
Although it is not clear exactly what causes throat cancers, the cancerous cells develop when genetic mutations allow the cells to grow uncontrollably to form tumors (masses of cancer cells) that may metastasize (spread) to other areas in the body. Some of the factors that can lead to throat cancer include cigarette smoking, infections with the human papillomavirus (HPV), and exposure to toxic substances like asbestos or large quantities of alcohol.
Some of the risk factors for throat cancer are related to lifestyle. For example, individuals can increase the risk of throat cancers by smoking or using other tobacco products, chewing betel nuts (a common practice in India), drinking excess alcohol, and consuming insufficient vitamin A. Exposure to asbestos, poor dental hygiene, and especially exposure to HPV are also risk factors.
Types of Throat Cancer
Squamous Cell Carcinoma - Squamous cell carcinoma develops in the thin, flat cells that line much of the throat. These cells look scale-like when checked under a microscope. This type of throat cancer is the most common in India and other parts of the world includng USA where large number of people consume tobacco in one or the other way. Squamous Cell throat Cancers are symptomatic hence their diagnosis in early stage is possible.
Adenocarcinoma - Adenocarcinoma of the larynx (part of throat) arises from cells in the tiny glands in the wall of the larynx that make mucus.
Symptoms of Throat Cancer
Voice change or hoarseness of the voice
Chronic sore throat
Difficulty in swallowing food
A mass or lump in neck
Diagnosis of Throat Cancer
Although imaging tests such as CT, MRI, PET scan, and others like chest X-rays and barium swallows provide very useful information about extent and location of the cancer, the definitive diagnosis of throat cancer is made by biopsy of the tumor.
Cancer staging is done either through PET CT or biopsy. Biopsy gives the staging in TNM format.
T Stands for tumor (how far it has spread within the larynx or pharynx and to nearby tissues).
N describes whether the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes
M stands for metastasis (spread of the cancer) to distant organs.
Treatment of Throat Cancer
The treatment for throat cancer depends upon the extent and seriousness of the disease. Treatment strives to preserve the patient's ability to eat, speak, and live a normal healthy life. Treatment plans for throat cancers usually include one or more of the following techniques: surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, proton therapy, targeted therapies.
Surgery - There are many types of surgeries for throat cancer, including minimally invasive, transoral laser microsurgery, endoscopic, laser, robotic, and tumor excision surgery, like supracricoid partial laryngectomy to allow more normal function in swallowing and speech without a stoma (a surgical opening in the neck that allows breathing). At our centre located in Gurgaon India Dr Kaushal Yadav and Dr Priyanjana Sharma are expert in operating upon patients with throat cancer.
Chemotherapy - These are drugs used to shrink tumors and/or kill cancer cells after or before surgery and/or radiation treatment. Chemotherapy is often used in combination with other therapies.
Radiation Therapy- Brachytherapy involves placement of radioactive beads close to a tumor. 3-D radiation beam therapy and intensity-modulated radiotherapy may be tailored to the specific shape of the tumor.
The cost of Throat Cancer Treatment in India ranges from USD 3000-10000 at the best of the hospitals. The first step is to correctly diagnose the stage of throat cancer. This is done by doing MRI or 3D CT Scan of the throat so that the depth and spread of the tumour can be assessed. CT Guided Biopsy is the gold standard of investigation for correct diagnosis of throat cancer. The biopsy will not only confirm whether the tumour is benign (non cancerous) or malignant (cancerous) but will also tell us the type of the cancer. This information greatly helps in establishing the line of treatment and also tells us the prognosis of the treatment. After Biopsy a whole body PET CT is done to see whether the cancer has spread to other parts of the body. If the cancer has spread to other body organs (metastasis) then removing the primary tumour through surgery will not bear the desired result. In such cases chemotherapy is the only option left for the doctors. The cost of these investigations would be approximately USD 500-700.
Once we know the stage of the cancer then the treatment is planned. If surgical excision of the tumour is to be done then the cost of the surgery would be around USD 3000 - 4500. Frozen section biopsy is done during the surgery to make sure that the entire cancer is removed and the margins are clear. Post Surgery Radiation would cost USD 5000 while chemotherapy may cost USD 3000-5000.
The team of doctors which will be treating you would include Dr Kaushal Yadav (Onco Surgeon) and Dr Priyanjana Sharma (ENT Surgeon). In cancer surgery, the team approach helps because the cancer surgeon wants to remove every bit of the cancer from the site while the ENT surgeon wants to preserve maximum functions of the organ.
The hospital stay for throat cancer surgery would be 5-7 days and post discharge stay in India would be about 2 weeks. So you should ideally plan a trip for about 3-4 weeks to India for getting the complete treatment. You can send your reports by email or whatsapp to get an estimate about the cost of the treatment before arriving in India.
Apart from the treatment the other costs like travelling, hotels and food are all cheaper in India. The boarding and lodging cost for the patient and one attendant in a decent airconditioned guest house would be around USD 40-60 per day. Those who have to stay for long periods can even rent an apartment for around 300-400 USD per month. The stay in cancer cases is longer where the patient needs multi modality treatment. For query please whatsapp at +91-9958222443 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancer treatment requires high quality equipments and care. Hence in India cancer hospitals are majorly tertiary care setups. Some of the best cancer hospitals in India with best in class facilities are located in Delhi/NCR and Mumbai. In Delhi/NCR we have hospitals like Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurgaon, India whcih is considered as one of the most advanced hospitals for cancer treatment. Apart from Fortis we have Paras Hospital Gurgaon, India which is a great setup for cancer surgeries. Similarly in Munbai we have Nanavati hospital which offers great cancer treatment facilities all the way from cancer surgery, chemotherapy, liver transplant, bone marrow transplant and even heart and lung transplants.
Our Hospitals have the latest MRI, CT Scan, Digital X-Ray, Mammography, Ultrasound, Colour Doppler, PET CT Scan, Gamma Camera (Nuclear Medicine Scans), Image Guided Radiation Therapy, Gamma Knife, Cyber Knife etc which gives us the diagnostic and theraputic confidence for providing the right treatment.
Modular fully equipped Operation Theatres with hepa-filters for zero infection rate and C-Arm backed by a state of art ICU helps us in providing world class treatment to our patients. Similarly in cases of transplant our well equipped isolation rooms ensure a zero infection rate which is very important for transplant patients as they have compromised immunity after the surgery.
Our team of doctors include some of the best names from the Indian Medical Fraternity. Dr Ankur Garg - Liver Transplant and Hepato Biliary and Pancreatinc Cancer Surgeon, Dr Kaushal Yadav, Dr Niranjan Naik, Dr Rama Joshi, Dr Sumita Singh, Dr Priyanjana Sharma, Rajiv Yadav- Cancer Surgeon, Dr Pradeep Bansal and Dr Fateh Singh Kidney Transplant Surgeon, Dr Rahul Bhargava and Dr Dharma Choudhary - Bone Marrow Transplant Specialist, Dr Vinod Raina, Dr Suresh Advani - Medical Oncologist, Dr Sandeep Attawar and Dr Hemant Pathare - Heart & Lung Transplant Surgeon, Dr Rajat Gupta - Orthopaedic Cancer Surgeon, Dr Amal Roay Chaudhoory and Dr Subodh Pande Radiation Oncologist.
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