Throat Cancer Treatment in India
What is Throat Cancer or Cancer of Larynx
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 that are treated in india
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 part 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. Surgery is the main line of treatment for throat cancer involving squamous cell cancer. It may or may not be follwed by radiation therapy. The decison to go or not to go for radiotherapy depends upon the stage of the cancer.
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
Difficulty in breathing
Pain in Ear
Diagnosis of Throat Cancer in India
The person's individual history (especially the presence of potential risk factors) and physical examination may provide a physician with enough suspicious information that the physician will consider throat cancer as a possible diagnosis. Consequently, the physician may strongly suggest doing additional tests to confirm or exclude the 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. Biopsy may be done by surgical incision in the neck, fine needle aspiration of the tumor, or by endoscopic biopsy.staging of Throat cancer
Cancer staging is done either through PET CT or biopsy. Biopsy gives the staging in TNM format.
T Stands for 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 for Throat Cancer in India
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 surgery 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 surgically 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 patient with throat cancer.
Chemotherapy - These are drugs used to shrink tumors and/or kill cancer cells after 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.