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Pharyngeal Cancer (Throat Cancer)

Cancer that forms in tissues of the pharynx (the hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the windpipe and esophagus). Cancer of the larynx (voice box) may also be included as a type of throat cancer.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Cancer Institute)

About Cancer of the Throat and Larynx

Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the nasopharynx (upper part of the throat behind the nose)....Read more about Nasopharyngeal Cancer

Oropharyngeal Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth, including the soft palate, the base of the tongue, and the tonsils)....Read more about Oropharyngeal Cancer

Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the throat)....Read more about Hypopharyngeal Cancer

Laryngeal Cancer

Cancer that forms in tissues of the larynx (area of the throat that contains the vocal cords and is used for breathing, swallowing, and talking)....Read more about Laryngeal Cancer

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Sentinel node biopsy in squamous cell cancer of the oral cavity and oral pharynx: a diagnostic meta-analysis

This review assessed the diagnostic performance of sentinel node biopsy in assessing the spread of oral and oropharyngeal cancer. The review was generally well conducted and clearly reported. However, the included studies were small and had a number of methodological flaws. The authors' conclusion, that sentinel node biopsy had shown high sensitivity in preliminary studies, is reasonable given the available data.

A systematic review of oral fungal infections in patients receiving cancer therapy

PURPOSE: The aims of this systematic review were to determine, in patients receiving cancer therapy, the prevalence of clinical oral fungal infection and fungal colonization, to determine the impact on quality of life and cost of care, and to review current management strategies for oral fungal infections.

Speech and swallowing after surgical treatment of advanced oral and oropharyngeal carcinoma: a systematic review of the literature

This review found that speech outcomes after surgery for advanced oral or oropharyngeal cancer were generally good, but swallowing problems could be severe, especially for patients receiving adjuvant radiotherapy. Due to the small amount of data available, the questionable quality of the studies, and the differences between them, the authors’ conclusions require caution.

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Summaries for consumers

Smoking in Cancer Care (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the influence of continued smoking on cancer treatment and risk of second cancers. Interventions to encourage smoking cessation are also discussed.

Nasopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of nasopharyngeal cancer.

Hypopharyngeal Cancer Treatment (PDQ®): Patient Version

Expert-reviewed information summary about the treatment of hypopharyngeal cancer.

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Terms to know

Esophagus
The muscular tube through which food passes from the throat to the stomach.
Hypopharynx
The bottom part of the throat.
Larynx (Voice Box)
The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called voice box.
Nasopharynx
The upper part of the throat behind the nose. An opening on each side of the nasopharynx leads into the ear.
Oropharynx
The part of the throat at the back of the mouth behind the oral cavity.
Pharynx (Throat)
The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach).
Trachea (Windpipe)
The airway that leads from the larynx (voice box) to the bronchi (large airways that lead to the lungs). Also called windpipe.

More about Pharyngeal Cancer

Photo of an adult

Also called: Malignant tumour of the pharynx, Cancer of the pharynx, Malignant tumor of the pharynx

Other terms to know: See all 7
Esophagus, Hypopharynx, Larynx (Voice Box)

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