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What is the Treatment for Throat Cancer?

Discover various treatments for throat cancer such as radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, targeted drugs, and immunotherapy, emphasizing early detection and importance of health insurance.

  • 09 Feb 2024
  • 3 min read
  • 32 views

Throat cancer is the general term for cancer that affects one or more parts of the throat, beginning with the throat connected to the pharynx, larynx (voice box), oropharynx (the middle part of the throat), food pipe (oesophagus) and the windpipe (trachea).  Cancer diseases tend to grow rapidly, so taking treatment early can give you the best chance to beat this disease and keep a good quality of life. In this article, we’ll look over the main forms of throat cancer treatment.

 

Treatment of Throat Cancer

The latest developments and innovations in the field of science have led scientists to treat throat cancer at early stages based on the symptoms, clinical examination, overall health, and personal preference for treatment. Throat cancer treatment involves therapies like:

1. Radiation Therapy

In this therapy, radiations using high-energy beams from sources such as X-rays and protons are targeted against cancer cells, causing them to die. Radiation therapy can be given to patients from a large machine placed outside the body (external beam radiation). It may also be from little radioactive seeds and wires that can be placed inside the body where cancer cells grow (brachytherapy). In the case of early-stage throat cancer that hasn’t spread to lymph nodes, radiation therapies are effective in treating the patient. 

2. Surgery

Surgery is done based on the location and stage of your throat cancer. Options may include:

  • Surgery for small throat cancers:

This type of surgery is done when the throat cancer hasn't spread to the lymph nodes and is confined to the surface of the throat or the vocal cords. Such cases are treated with surgery using endoscopy. 

  • Surgery to remove the voice box or laryngectomy: 

In case of a smaller tumour, the doctor may remove the part of your voice box affected by the growth of cancer cells, leaving the non-affected area that saves as much of the voice box as possible. In the case of a larger tumour, the complete voice box is removed, and the windpipe is attached to a hole (stoma) in your throat to allow you to breathe, through a process known as tracheotomy.

 

3. Chemotherapy

This therapy employs drugs to destroy cancer cells or stop them from multiplying and is often utilised along with radiation therapy in treating the cancer. 

 

4. Targeted Drug Therapy

Targeted therapy utilizes drugs and other substances to target cancer cells by targeted therapy. This is done using anti-angiogenic agents that block blood vessels and shrink them to enter the tumour. Such techniques are used after surgical procedures. The drug cetuximab is mostly used to perform targeted therapy, which stops the action of protein found in cancer cells to treat throat cancer in certain situations. 

5. Immunotherapy

This therapy enables our immune system to fight throat cancer by restoring our body's natural defense mechanism and using immunotherapies like interferon alpha or interleukin-2. This therapy is done to treat advanced stages of throat cancer when standard treatments are not effective.

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Conclusion

Throat cancer treatment involves a surgical procedure that affects a person’s quality of life long after a person finishes the treatment. Make sure you visit your doctor to get regular check-ups, to detect the disease at its earliest stage. In addition to receiving the necessary treatment, having health insurance can also play a crucial role in ensuring that you receive appropriate care without incurring high medical bills. 

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