4. Treatment depends on progression
Depending on the stage or extent of the cancer, your overall health, your location and personal preference, there are appropriate treatments for your throat cancer such as:
Radiation therapy uses X-rays and protons to produce radiation that could cause cancer cells to die. This type of therapy can still be used on throat cancers that haven’t spread to the lymph nodes yet.
A combination of radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or surgery may be needed for more advanced conditions. Radiation therapy may also reduce signs and symptoms of throat cancer and make it more manageable.
The cancer stage and its location in your throat may be considered when it comes to the type of surgical procedure you will have to undergo. Your options for surgical procedures may include:
- Surgical procedure for minor throat cancer (cancers that haven’t reached the lymph nodes yet)
- Surgery to remove a part or the entire voice box (laryngectomy)
- Surgical procedures to remove a part of the throat (pharyngectomy)
- Surgery to detach cancerous lymph nodes (neck dissection)
This procedure uses drugs to eliminate cancer cells. Chemotherapy is often used alongside radiation therapy in most throat cancer treatments.
Several drugs used in chemotherapy force cancer cells to react to radiation therapy, making it easier to eliminate. However, using both methods may result in increased side effects.
Targeted Drug Therapy
This method uses medication to attack certain defects of the cancer cells to stop its growth. Targeted drugs may be used on its own or along radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Cancer cells tend to mislead your body’s disease-fighting immune system by producing proteins to avoid an attack. Immunotherapy interferes with this process and uses your immune system to fight cancer. This method is reserved for patients with advanced cancer stage and is not responding to other treatments.
5. There is no surefire way to prevent throat cancer
There is still no proven prevention of throat cancer but you can reduce the risk and symptoms of throat cancer by:
- Not smoking
- Drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all
- Keeping a healthy diet including fruits and vegetables
- Protecting yourself from HPV (Human Papillomavirus) which is a sexually transmitted infection.
6. Specialized medical care is needed during recovery and rehabilitation
Managing the symptoms of throat cancer and the side effects of cancer treatments will not be an easy job. Some of the treatments will help lessen the symptoms of throat cancer but will leave complications.
Oftentimes, it requires help from a specialist in order to regain certain abilities like swallowing or talking. After each treatment, your doctor may let you seek help from specialists for:
- Eating difficulties
- Speech problems
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Pain and stiffness of the neck
- Care for the stoma (surgical opening in your throat) for patients who had tracheotomy
Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy are aggressive methods that can have lasting side effects on the patient.
To help patients and also their family cope with the symptoms of throat cancer and its treatments, they can use extra support from palliative or supportive care.
It is specialized medical care that can provide relief from pain and symptoms of throat cancer or other serious illness. Palliative care is used alongside treatments to improve the life of cancer patients and their family. This is provided by a team of trained professionals, doctors and nurses.
Cancer is a terrifying and painful disease. Although numerous medical breakthroughs have been made throughout the years, there is no definitive cure or vaccine that can prevent it yet. However, there are treatment options available that can alleviate symptoms and put cancer into remission.
The never-ending support of friends and family is really important during cancer treatment. Recovering from cancer treatments may require more therapies so it is important to motivate and support the patient until he or she fully recovers.
Throat cancer can be treatable and manageable with early diagnosis and proper treatments. Share these facts about throat cancer with your family and friends. Always choose a healthy lifestyle and take the necessary precautions to help lower your risk of getting sick.
Learn more about cancer, here.
Share your thoughts
Be the first to let Hello Doctor know your thoughts!
Join Us or Log In to join the discussion